First National Bank acquires GHL bank to strengthen its presence in Africa

GHANA – First National Bank Ghana, has acquired a 100 percent stake of GHL Bank (formerly Ghana Home Loans) from Harborough Limited effective 4th May 2020 making the latter a subsidiary of the Ghana unit of South Africa-based lender. 

The transaction has been approved by the boards of the two banks and has received the required regulatory approvals from the Bank of Ghana and the South African Reserve Bank. 

“Plans are well under way to merge the operations of the two banks. We further believe that this merger will demonstrate and further cement our commitment to the Ghanaian market. We recognize that the economy is under a lot of pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but we remain excited about the future of banking in Ghana,” said Richard Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of First National Bank Ghana. 

Customers of both banks are being advised to continue doing business with their current bankers (i.e. either First National Bank or GHL Bank). A statement from the First National Bank said GHL Bank Plc was Ghana’s leading provider of mortgage financing.  

The managements of First National Bank Ghana and GHL Bank first agreed to a takeover in the latter part of 2018 as part of the ripples of the central bank’s recapitalisation directive at the time. 

The transaction received preliminary approval from the BoG at the time, then allowing GHL Bank to continue in operation but as a subsidiary of First National Bank Ghana. 

First National Bank Ghana is a subsidiary of the FirstRand Group of South Africa, one of the biggest financial institutions in Africa. The group has banking presence in nine African countries. 

GHL Bank is one of Ghana’s leading providers of mortgage financing and it is the intention to bring both banks under the FNB Ghana name in order to strengthen and consolidate its presence in Ghana. 

DLA Piper South Africa has advised FirstRand Bank Limited, the largest financial institution group in Africa, on the acquisition by its subsidiary. 

DLA Piper has also advised the FirstRand Group on its other acquisitions made over the past two years, which include UK-based Aldermore Bank, Namibia’s Pointbreak Group and EBank. 

The DLA Piper South Africa team was led by Johannes Gouws (director, country managing partner), and comprised of Hendré Human (in his previous capacity as director) and Rakhee Singh (senior associate).  The DLA Piper Africa, Ghana (Reindorf Chambers) team comprised of Fui Tsikata (senior partner) and Dominic Quashigah (senior associate). 

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