Sovereign Bank Limited
Sovereign Bank Limited was licensed as a universal bank in January 2016 and began operations in April 2016.
Circumstances leading to the appointment of the receiver
As part of Bank of Ghana’s investigations into the failure of Capital Bank Limited (currently in receivership), it emerged that Sovereign Bank’s initial capital contributed by its shareholders was funded from transfers from Capital Bank which had been presented to Bank of Ghana as investments on behalf of the bank. Subsequent to its licensing, a substantial amount of the bank’s capital was placed with another financial institution as an investment for the bank. The bank has, however, not been able to retrieve this amount from the investment firm with which it was placed, and it has emerged that the investments were liquidated by the shareholders and parties related to them. Following enquiries by Bank of Ghana, the promoters of the bank admitted that they did not pay for the shares they acquired in the bank.
The promoters of the bank have since surrendered their shares in the bank, while the directors representing those original shareholders have since resigned. In April 2018, Bank of Ghana appointed an Advisor to advise the management of the bank with a view to improving the affairs of the bank. The capital of the bank continued to deteriorate due to the Bank’s inability to recover the investments placed with financial institutions, as well as impairments to its loan book. Its capital adequacy ratio as at 1 August 2018 was negative 11.
The Bank of Ghana concluded that Sovereign Bank was insolvent, and that there was no reasonable prospect of a return to viability. The bank was unable to meet daily obligations as they fell due. Liquidity support granted to the bank amounted to GH¢12 million as of May 2018. The bank could not publish its audited accounts for 31 December 2017, breaching section 90 (2) of Act 930.
The bank’s situation resulted in persistent breaches of key regulatory requirements and prudential limits.
The Bank’s total assets and liabilities at 30 June 2018 were GH¢488 million (US$102 million and GH¢378 million (US$79 million) respectively.
The Receiver, in conjunction with Bank of Ghana and security personnel carried out head office and branch level operational activities to secure the assets of the banks from day
Intervention – Branch Activities
- Performed cash counts
- Reviewed branch suspense accounts
- Verified and took custody of fixed and other assets, to the extent possible
- Took inventory of cheque books and ATM cards
- Performed bank reconciliations
- Took custody of collateral/security files
- Took custody of credit files
- Reviewed branch physical security
Intervention – Head Office Actions
Information and Technology
- De-activated user accounts and retrieved laptops from all key executives
- Performed shutdown activities
- Obtained applications and system inventory
- Took custody, catalogued and commenced review of HR Files
- Commenced review of employee compensation and benefit plans
- Review of HR policies and procedures
Loans and Advances
- Took custody, catalogued and commenced review of credit files
- Took custody and commenced review of security / collateral files
Activities carried out by the Receiver at branch level, in conjunction with Bank of Ghana and security personnel were as follows:
- Cash Counts
- Branch Suspense Account reviews
- Fixed Assets Verifications
- Inventory of Cheque Books & ATM Cards
- Cash/Bank Reconcilations
- Collateral and Security Files Review
- Credit Files Review
- Review of Physical Security
Branch Spread Analysis
|Within Accra||Outside Accra||Total Branches|
Communication and Stakeholder Engagements
Publication of Notice of Appointment of Receiver at the each Branch of the Banks
As part of the intervention activities and in line with Section 125(2) of Act 930, the Receiver displayed notices at each branch of the five (5) banks in receivership. The content of the notice covered the appointing authority of Receiver, the effective date of assuming control of the banks and also highlighted that the authority and functions of the management of the respective banks ceased from that date.
Publication of Notice of Appointment of Receiver in the Print Media
Section 125(5) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Act (Act 930) requires the Receiver to publish a notice specifying the action taken in at least two daily newspapers of national circulation. The Receiver published the notice of appointment in three daily newspapers (The Daily Graphic, The Ghanaian Times and The Business and Financial Times) in accordance with Act 930. This was done consecutively for four weeks as stipulated by Act 930. Click here for copies of the publications circulated by the Receiver.
Information to Competent Authorities
Section 125(5) of Act 930 specifies that the Receiver informs competent authorities of the notice of appointment. The Receiver, in this regard, sent letters of notices to the institutions below:
- Ministry of Finance (MoF)
- The Office of the Attorney General
- Ministry of Justice
- Ghana Police Service (GPS)
- Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA)
- Lands Commission and Lands Title Registry
- Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)
- National Security
- Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT)
- Central Securities Depository (CSD)
The Receiver notified the Bank of Ghana of the communication to these institutions, together with evidence of newspaper publications, as required by the Act.
Meetings with Key Stakeholders
The Receiver arranged meetings with other major key stakeholders to clarify the role of the Receiver and to execute his mandate. Some of these stakeholders include:
- The Bank of Ghana
- The Consolidated Bank of Ghana
- Criminal Investigation Department of Ghana Police Services
- Key management of Banks
- Key customers of banks
Communication with Corresponding Banks and Pension Fund Managers
The Receiver sent letters to local and correspondent banks of each of the banks (in receivership) to notify them of revocation of their operating licences and the appointment of a receiver. Other non-bank financial institutions who provided pension trustee services were also notified.
Some of the correspondent banks include; Bank of Beruit, Oddo BHF Aktiengesellschaft, Access Bank, UK, Bank of China, EBI, Ecobank Group. Pension fund managers like GLICO Life, Beige Legacy Pension Trust, Petra Trust Company Limited, Metropolitan Pensions Trust Ghana, Negotiated Benefits Trust Company Limited, Petra Trust Company Limited, were served with letters of notices, with National Pensions Regulatory Authority and SSNIT in copy.
Termination of Employee Contracts
The Receiver, has served termination letters to employees of all five banks. Letters were also served to terminate the appointment of Directors and Deputy Directors of these Banks. Engagements are ongoing with the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union to negotiate exit packages for affected employees.
Termination of Vendor Contracts
- IT Solutions
- Medical and health care
- Postages and telecommunication
- Cleaning, janitorial and Sanitation services
- Human resource, recruitment and hiring services
- Surveillance, fire alarm and panic control
- Office repairs and maintenance
- Vehicle and Fuel supply
- Office Stationery
- Hospitality (Accommodation, Catering and Travels)
- Rented Properties
|Number of Vendors Terminated for the Bank|