The Business of Banking in Ghana can be traced to the colonial era, the erstwhile Gold Coast. This period saw the provision of financial services to the British enterprises and colonial administration.

In 1896, the first bank to open a branch in Accra was the Bank of British West Africa, which later became Standard Chartered Bank.

In 1918, another institution emerged. The Colonial Bank began operations in the Gold Coast. It later merged with a number of banks and became known as the Barclays Bank.

Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays Bank have been part of the banking framework of Ghana for over 100 years. During the period 1920-1950, these two banks were the only banks in the Gold Coast.

The operational presence of only these two institutions meant the ownership and control of the sector was in the hands of ‘foreigners’.

This conundrum led to the establishment of the first indigenous commercial bank in 1953. This was the Ghana Commercial Bank, now GCB Bank. 

Four years later, the Bank of Ghana was also established on 4th March 1957, two days before independence. 

The 1960s and 70s saw the establishment of a number of state-owned banks and development finance institutions. 

The National Investment Bank (NIB), Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) are some of the banks that were created in this era. 

There were some reforms in the sector which saw the entry of privately-owned banks as there was a preponderance of government-owned banks. 

The banking landscape has undergone several changes and today, 23 banks stand tall in the country.

The figure below is an extract from a book titled; ‘The Economy of Ghana Sixty Years After Independence’ edited by Ernest Aryeetey & Ravi Kanbur. It chronicles the changes in the industry since the colonial era.

Source: Dr Sam Mensah

History of banking in Ghana
·       Business of Banking of Ghana can be traced to the colonial era
·       Banks existed to serve British Enterprises and colonial administration 
·       1896- First branch of British Bank of West Africa opened in Accra and later became Standard Chartered Bank
·       1918- Colonial Bank began operations in the Gold Coast
Colonial Bank merged with other institutions to become Barclays Bank
·       1953- Ghana Commercial Bank was established
·       1957- Bank of Ghana was established (two days before independence)
·       1963- National Investment Bank was established with a focus on investments, Now Nib
·       1965- Agricultural Development Bank was established to focus on the agricultural sector
·       The Late 80s And Early 90s Saw The Entry Of Privately-Owned Commercial Banks such as the Meridian(Biao), The Trust Bank (Ttb), Cal Merchant Bank, Metropolitan And Allied Bank And Ecobank