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27.08.2004 Business & Finance

Women's Bank to increase its capital

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Accra, Aug. 27, GNA - The Women's World Banking (WWB), Ghana is to raise 15 billion cedis as its working capital within the next seven months to stay in business.

To realise this amount, the Bank is issuing eight million ordinary shares of unissued shares to existing shareholders and also by concurrent private placement at 1,250 cedis per share.

Professor Florence Dolphyne, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank, said at its 11th Annual General Meeting in Accra on Friday that the amount would also enable it to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Some shareholders, mostly women, objected to the issuance of shares by the private placement to especially men but the Board Chairman insisted that the exercise was necessary to enable the Bank to stay in business.

The Bank of Ghana has increased the capital base of savings and loans to 15 billion cedis for small and 50 billion cedis for larger companies.

Companies that are unable to meet the demand would have to merge with bigger companies or be closed down.

Prof. Dolphyne, however, convinced the shareholders that going public and to stay in business would not defeat the prime objective of the establishment of the Bank, which was to assist women by granting them loans to do business.

She explained that women could still access loans by saving a current minimum rate of 50,000 cedis, which might be revised upwards if the Bank should not be taken over by another company. This would eliminate low income earning women for whom the Bank was established from benefiting.

Giving the review of the year 2003, Prof. Dolphyne said the Bank recorded a net profit of 116.4 million cedis as compared to 23.7 million cedis for 2002. The profit was an improvement of 390 per cent.

The Bank's assets increased by 38.5 per cent from 11.4 billion cedis to 15.8 billion cedis while shareholders' funds went up from 17.3 million cedis to 173.1 million cedis indicating a 900 per cent increase. She commended the efforts of the Women and Children's Affairs Ministry and GTZ, which were affiliate organisations that assisted the Bank to improve the quality of its products. Other assistance came from Care International, a Canadian nongovernmental organisation.

Some of the products included life assurance and regular investment by policyholders and a business and savings account called ADEPA. Prof Dolphyne told the shareholders that the Bank would do its best to minimise the adverse effects of falling interest rates and rising operational costs.

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