5th February, 2015
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of the Ecobank Group, has stated that the bank has the requisite financial strength and strong governance to function optimally.
In a statement issued by the bank today, it said the there were no internal governance issues within the bank as all indifferences have been settled. The bank noted that since the reconstituted Ecobank Group board was formed it has been able to restore stability to the bank and regain the confidence of its stakeholders.
The bank’s statement comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report on 4 February 2015, in which it suggested that ETI’s rapid expansion, lack of regulation and poor governance poses a wider threat to financial stability in Africa.
According to the bank’s statement, the report, contains some inaccuracies, as the report is roughly 18 months out of date as regards to some of its references to the Ecobank Group.
“The internal governance issues that it referred to at Ecobank date back to a period of several months between mid-2013 and early 2014. The Ecobank Group dealt conclusively with those internal governance issues at the time. The matter culminated in the dismissal of its then Group CEO, Mr. Thierry Tanoh, who was replaced by Mr Albert Essien in March 2014,” ETI said.
The bank noted that: “since that period, a reconstituted new Ecobank Group board and senior management team has been able to restore stability to the bank and regain the confidence of its stakeholders, including its regulators, shareholders, customers and staff. The board is led by the experienced and well respected Mr. Emmanuel Ikazoboh as Chairman.
“He is supported by a diverse group of directors with a rich mix of experience and knowledge of the African banking industry. Senior management is led by Mr. Essien, a veteran professional of Ecobank for almost 25 years. Board and management have provided strong leadership for the institution since their assumption of office at Group’s 2014 Annual General Meeting.”
Citing various inadequacies, the statement noted that “it would be wrong for the report to inadvertently convey the perception that past governance issues still exist at Ecobank. A lot has taken place between the preparation of the aforementioned IMF report and the present time.
“At the end of 2014, Nedbank and Qatar National Bank became the largest shareholders of the Ecobank group. The investment by both of these banks demonstrates their confidence not only in the Ecobank Group’s future growth prospects, but also in the strength of its governance and its management.
“The Ecobank Group took well calculated steps in its expansion over the last eight years. Its deliberate intention, on which it followed through, was to expand only so far within its specific geographic footprint of Middle Africa, and thereafter to concentrate on improving quality delivery in affiliates across this footprint. It thus took a very guarded approach to ensure that rapid expansion did not pose a liability,” the statement concluded.
With operations today in 36 African countries and total assets of US$23 billion, the Ecobank Group continues to register strong growth. ETI reaffirms the financial strength of the bank as well as governance actions taken to comply fully with its systemically important status in the African banking industry.