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Cedi’s free fall: GCB Bank expands FX business



GCB Bank has disclosed of a major expansion drive to increase the trading in foreign exchange to help businesses get access to major international trading currencies.

GCB Bank tells Citi Business News that it is increasing the scope of FX trading to minimize the impact of the shortage of foreign currency in the system.

The move could be described as timely considering the recent developments regarding the cedi’s losing streak against the dollar.

The announcement by GCB Bank should bring some respite to importers and forex bureaus who have been heavily affected by the recent hike in the depreciation of the cedi.

Also, for the past few weeks, the concerns for an immediate and permanent solution by the central bank, has been intense.

GCB Bank has largest access to foreign currency inflows

Speaking to Citi Business News at the bank’s AGM last Friday [July 6, 2018], the Managing Director of GCB Bank, Ray Sowah said the volume of foreign currency available to GCB Bank should help salvage the situation.

“GCB as a bank doesn’t play too actively in that sector; having said that because we are the largest banks in terms of inflows from remittances; we have pools of dollars, pound sterling and Euros which come in to us. We are now starting to play vigorously in the foreign exchange sector and we hope that soon we will take a leading position,” he asserted.

The Bank of Ghana has on countless times reassured businesses of measures to normalize the situation.

Among others, the central bank has been increasing its allocation to commercial banks to meet corporate needs.

For instance, Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has allayed fears of the cedi hitting the dreaded 5 cedis to a dollar mark.

Increased FX business to increase profits

For now, it is unclear how many of the one hundred and eighty three (183) branches of GCB Bank are undertaking the FX trading and how many more will be brought on board.

But the Deputy Managing Director of Finance at GCB Bank, Socrates Afram believes the new move will help in improving the bank’s profitability especially within the investment markets.

“We are doing a lot more transactions in terms of FX; we have also expanded the scope of the branches in terms of their dealings in FX. In the past, not every branch of GCB Bank that you go to will deal with you in FX, now we have expanded that. This is being enhanced across the network.”



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