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UniBank: The Rise and Fall of a Leader in Online Banking in Ghana
Did you know that Africa is one of the fastest-developing regions right now? Countries such as Ghana and Nigeria, in particular, have been at the forefront of financial innovation on the continent. But as it often happens, success also goes hand in hand with misfortune. Today, we’d like to introduce you to UniBank, one of Ghana’s most fascinating financial companies, and how it fell from grace. Let’s get started.
UniBank: an Introduction
UniBank Ghana first launched as a financial entity in 1997. A few years after its establishment, it received a banking licence and started offering a full range of banking services to individual and corporate clients alike. It provided savings and checking accounts, loans and mortgages, and even investment portfolios and consultations.
As of 2013, UniBank had a revenue of 8.7 million US dollars, and about $433 million worth of assets to its name. Nevertheless, it wasn’t long after this that things started to turn sour for UniBank.
Ghana’s Bank Crisis
Due to the global financial crisis of 2008, banks around the globe struggled well into the 2010s. Ghana was no exception. Though details were not public at the time, many Ghanaian banks had started to borrow more heavily to support their operations, entering a vicious cycle of ever-increasing debt.
By 2017-2018, the Bank of Ghana was running out of options. To mitigate the damage in the country’s banking sector, it took over several private banks, which were consolidated into the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited. UniBank was one of the failing banks that became part of CBG.
What Went Wrong with UniBank?
Not unlike the banking crisis in the United States, UniBank suffered from poor management. It did not meet the capital benchmarks that would have allowed its normal operations to continue.
Moreover, shareholders had reportedly engaged in illegal activities, such as giving out loans to businesses they were related to. In other words, nepotism, corruption, and conflicts of interest added up on the background of an already struggling global economy.
What is left of UniBank now exists as part of Consolidated Bank Ghana. Nevertheless, a dark cloud still hangs over Ghana’s banking sector, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its dire consequences for the economy.