Despite the emergence of mobile money services, banks on the average are demanding more money from customers to open savings accounts, data from the Bank of Ghana has shown.
Analysis conducted by Citi Business News on banks’ charges as at December 2014, showed that banks demanded an average of GH¢37.5 as the initial deposit to open savings accounts for individuals.
But the Financial Stability Department of the Bank of Ghana’s latest survey of bank charges for second-quarter 2019 showed that banks on the average will now require GH¢44 as initial deposit for opening a savings account for individuals.
The increase in the average initial deposit required represents a 17.3 percent growth over the period.
With the unbanked population of Ghana reported to be about 60 percent before the onset of mobile money, there were expectations that some of the barriers to financial inclusion such as initial deposits will give way.
However, per the BoG survey, Standard Chartered, SG Bank and Zenith Bank demand customers make an initial deposit of GH¢100 in order to open a savings account. These charges have remained the same since December 2014.
Some banks since the 2014 survey have however increased their initial deposit required to open a savings account. In all six banks made up of Bank of Africa, GCB Bank, First Atlantic, Prudential, Republic and Fidelity increased their charges between GH¢10-40.
While the majority of banks kept their charges unchanged, GT Bank eliminated the initial amount of money required to open a savings account while CAL Bank slashed its charges by 50 percent ostensibly in an effort to mobilise more deposits.
The survey did not include the banks that were collapsed, merged or ceased operations between 2014-2019.
Thus Consolidated Bank, OmniBSIC, GHL-First National Bank, Bank of Baroda were not included in the analysis conducted by Citi Business News.