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Banks’ lending rates drop marginally

Citi Business News’ checks have revealed that the Annual Percentage Rates and Average Interest Rates recorded in October have dropped marginally as compared to that of September 2017.

Between September and October this year, all but one of the nine categories of the Bank of Ghana’s Annual Percentage and Average Interest rate report, witnessed a marginal decline in interest rates.

The rates dropped between 0.6 and 1.9 percent within the one month period.

The highest drop was 1.9 percent recorded for interest rates charged on loans for commerce, construction, and other consumer credits.

The rates dropped from 31.3, 31.8 and32.4 percent respectively.

The least drop was recorded on loans granted to the agricultural sector.

The figure declined from 31.0 percent to 30.8 percent between September and October this year.

Reacting to the drop in interest rates on loans to the agriculture sector, however, the General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers’ Union, Edward Kareweh bemoaned the marginal drop in rates despite issues confronting the sector.

“The drop is not good enough because if we are still hovering around thirty percent then it tells you how we are still not ready to invest in agriculture because the investment will depend on the budget or the interest rate.”

He added, “That will also indicate whether people will be ready to go in for loans from the banks and if the interest rate is so high then it tells us that we still have a long way to go by way o making funds available by way of making funds available from the banks for agricultural purposes” .

For his part, the General Manager of Treasury at HFC Bank, Joseph Nketsia outlined possible reasons underlying the drop in interest rates on banks’ mortgages.

“Because the monetary policy rate has been going down banks have adjusted their cost of funds or deposit rate and that is what is resulting in fall in deposit rate as well as the fall in lending rates by the various banks”

Despite the marginal decline in the interest rates, the industry watchers are hopeful of a further reduction by the end of the year.

Mr. Joseph Nketsia, for instance, believes a further drop in interest rates will have an increase on the loans sought for particularly as the festive season approaches.

“It is not the drop because if you look at the drop in Ghana we will say it is marginal but in other jurisdictions, the interest rate falls by one percent and it’s a big drop. But Ghana at our relatively high-interest rate a one percent drop in interest rates is marginal, its impact on customers is relatively low so it’s not that drop in interest rates that is causing an increase in demand for loans but rather the season that we find ourselves in”

By: Anita Arthur/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana