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However, there are several reasons to question the extent to which banks actually compete. Although bank concentration appears to be moderate by regional standards, the dominant state owned bank (GCB) enjoys a substantial market power, with 20 percent of total deposits and 44 percent of total branches—a situation that may influence price setting among banks and distort competition.

Profitability indicators suggest that, despite high overhead costs (7 percent to average assets but substantially higher than the SSA of 5.7%) and sizable provisioning, Ghanaian banks’ pretax returns on assets and equity are among the highest in SSA—a situation that reflects very wide interest margins (Buchs & Mathisen, 2005).

Financial Services Sector

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