The Banks and Specialised Deposit -Taking Act, 2016 (Act 930) regulates the establishment and operation of banks and specialized deposit taking institutions in Ghana. Savings and Loans companies, leasing companies and finance houses make up the Specialised Deposit-taking Institutions (SDI).

Bank of Ghana is the body authorized to regulate and issue licenses to Banks and Specialised Deposit – Taking institutions.

In order to establish and obtain banking and SDI licenses in Ghana, it must first be incorporated at the Office of the Registrar of Companies. This is done by filling the relevant forms and providing the required information which includes details of the proposed company, directors, shareholders, company secretary etc.

The next step is to apply in writing to the Bank of Ghana for a license to operate any of the above-mentioned institutions. The application must contain or attach the following details and documents:

  1. a certified true copy of the Company Regulations of the proposed institution.
  2. the names, addresses, occupations, business and professional history, certified financial positions, and corporate affiliations of the significant shareholders and the respective values of the shares.
  3. a complete organisational structure including a diagram of the group, direct and indirect affiliates and associates of the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution, and the nature of the relationship to the group if the bank or SDI is a part of a corporate group.
  4. the particulars of the proposed directors and key management personnel concerned.
  5. feasibility report including a business plan and financial projections for the first five years and tide area of activity intended;
  6. documentary evidence of the capital of the proposed bank or specialised deposit-taking institution, including the original sources of funds and any other source of funds;
  7. any other particulars that the Bank of Ghana may require

The Bank of Ghana may choose to conduct an interview of a promoter, director or key management personnel for the purpose of verifying the information provided or requesting for further information.

The Bank of Ghana will have to be satisfied of the following:

  1. the feasibility report submitted by the applicant is based on sound analysis under reasonable assumptions;
  2. the proposed directors and key management personnel of the applicant are fit and proper persons;
  3. the significant shareholders are suitable and the ownership structure of the proposed bank or specialised deposit-taking institution will not hinder effective supervision, including supervision on a consolidated basis;
  4. the paid-up capital of the applicant is adequate and the original sources of capital are acceptable and do not include borrowed funds;
  5. the arrangements for governance, including accounting, risk management, and internal control systems and records of the applicant are adequate;
  6. the applicant is not a shell company; and
  7. the applicant has complied with the Act, the Regulations, directives, and other legally-binding instruments made under the Act and any conditions that the Bank of Ghana may impose.

A significant difference between the banks and SDIs is the start-up capital and fees required.

Minimum Paid Up Capital 400,000,000 15,000,000
Application Processing Fee 20,000 5,000
Initial Licensing Fee 100,000 10,000
Annual Licensing Fee 10,000 5,000


Per the relevant act, the Bank of Ghana is under the obligation to give a decision of the application within a period of six months upon receipt of the application. However, in practice it may take between a periods of six (6) to twenty four (24) months to complete the entire process.

A person interested in operating a bank or SDI must strictly adhere to the above guidelines to enable them secure the relevant licenses. In the alternative, they must seek a professional advice to smoothly sail them through the application processes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.