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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of Problem
1.3 Objective of the Study
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Research Methodology
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.8 Organisation of the Study
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Background of Banking Sector in Ghana
2.2 Developments in the Banking Industry in Ghana
2.3 The Concept of Universal Banking
2.4 Benefits and Challenges of Universal Banking
2.5 Empirical Review on Universal Banking
CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY
3.1 Sampling Frame
3.2 Method of Sampling
3.3 Sources of Data
3.4 Method of Collection of Data
3.5 Method of Data Analysis
3.6 Problems Encountered
CHAPTER FOUR DATA ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION OF DATA
4.1 Profile of GCB and BBG
4.2 Results and Discussions
SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION
5.1 Summary of findings
Universal banking has had varied impact on the performances of the banking industry across Europe and America. Similar results are observed in Asia and even some parts of Africa. Mal-performance occurs due in part to risks associated with universal banking.
Introduced in 2003, the universal banking license grants the banks the opportunity to engage in multifaceted businesses ranging from merchant banking to retail banking. The industry has over the last five year seen tremendous diversification of business and it is argued that most have gained scope economies.
The objective of the study is to determine if there is any link between the performances of a bank in terms of profitability, service quality and universal banking, if there was any inherent benefit to the stability of the economy, before and after its introduction.
The banks in Ghana would have benefited from the introduction of universal banking, in the form of products and service diversification and market penetration, the result also suggest marked improvement in performance (increased ROA, ROE) in the post universal banking period, to engage in foreign transactions and to deal in other financial products since their capital requirement had gone up, which they might not be doing formerly, unless the expatriate banks which relies on their mother or parent companies. The benefit would not readily reflect in their profitability but certainly in the future.
The benefit of universal banking on the performance and profitability of banks cannot be readily be accessed or its significance cannot be determine because some of the banks used for the evaluation have made gains and other have decline in their activities. Though there are great benefits for the banks and the economy as a whole it might take some few more years for its benefits to impact in the industry. Government should open up the economy through the creation of jobs, providing enabling environment to bring in more foreign direct investments, increase in international trade and more multinational firms. This would enable the banks to sell their products to them and make gains or realising the importance of universal banking on their operations.
The banking scenario in Ghana has been changing at fast pace from being just the borrowers and lenders, traditionally, to more differentiated and customized product/service provider. The sector has moved from regulation to liberalization in the 1990s, and from planned to market economy. The Ghanaian banking has come a long way from being a sleepy business institution to a highly proactive and dynamic entity. This transformation has been largely brought about by the large dose of liberalization and economic reforms that allowed banks to explore new business opportunities rather than generating revenues from conventional streams (i.e. borrowing and lending).
The competition heated up with the entry of private and foreign banks. Deregulation and globalization resulted in increased competition that refined the traditional way of doing business. The banks have realized the importance of a customer centric approach, brand building and IT enabled solutions. In the fierce battle for market share and mind share, the most potent weapon is a strong, well recognized and trusted brand name. Brands attract and convince people that they will get what is promised. Banking today has transformed into a technology intensive and customer friendly model with a focus on convenience. The companies have redoubled their efforts to woo the customers and establish themselves firmly in the market. It is no longer an option for a bank to provide good customer service, it is expected.
Reforms are continuing as part of the overall structural reforms aimed at improving the productivity and efficiency of the economy. The sector is set to witness the emergence of financial supermarkets in the form of universal banks providing a suite of services from retail to corporate banking and industrial lending to investment banking. The financial services market has become a battle ground for the marketers with the latest and the most sophisticated weapons.
Currently, overall banking in Ghana is considered as fairly mature in terms of supply, product range and reach-even though reach in rural Ghana still remains a challenge for the private sector and foreign banks. Even in terms of quality of assets and capital adequacy, banks in Ghana are considered to have clean, strong and transparent balance sheets-as compared to other banks in comparable economies in its region. The banking industry in Ghana is currently in a transition phase. On one hand, the public sector banks, which are the mainstay of the banks in Ghana systems, are in the process of consolidating their position by capitalizing on the strength of their huge networks and customer bases. On the other, the private sector banks are venturing into a whole new game of mergers and acquisitions to expand their bases. The use of technology has placed banks in Ghana at par with their global peers. According to Abor (2004), the traditional way of banking operation has changed. The competition in the banking sector has changed the way banking is done in Ghana. ‘Anywhere banking’ and ‘Anytime banking’ have become a reality. The financial sector now operates in a more competitive environment than before and intermediates relatively large volume of international financial flows. The introduction of Basel II norms and the fair level playing field that are available to foreign banks further enhance the solidarity of the Ghanaian banking sector and open new avenues.
The entry of banks into the realm of financial services was followed very soon after the introduction of liberalization in the economy. Since the early 1990s structural changes of profound magnitude have been witnessed in global banking systems. Large scale mergers, amalgamations and acquisitions between the banks and financial institutions resulted in the growth in size and competitive strengths of the merged entities. Thus, emerged new financial conglomerates that could maximize economies of scale and scope by building the production of financial services organization is called Universal Banking.
Before the introduction of Universal Banking in Ghana in 2003, there were 18 banks which operated under the three-pillar banking model – development, merchant and commercial banking. Among other services, the banks offered personal, corporate/merchant, investment and mortgage banking services depending on the dictates of their operational mandate.
The Bank of Ghana, has since February 2003, relaxed restrictions imposed through licensing of banks for purposes of doing banking business. Under the current dispensation, all banks are permitted to undertake universal banking business. Here, the current banking licenses, held by existing banks [which permitted Merchant Banking, Commercial (or Retail) Banking and Development Banking], continue to apply, but extended to cover the operations of the universal banking business. Of the total number of banks, only 12 are wholly Ghanaian owned. Interestingly in the Banking industry in Ghana today, all the banks hold Universal Banking License.
It is obvious that even though Universal banking comes with enormous benefit for the economy and the nation as a whole. All the benefits that come with competition are brought to bear on the industry with the economy and the final consumer being the most beneficiaries. It is expected that most banks will run more efficiently by employing innovative and technologically advanced ways of conducting business to provide a variety of services to their customers. In universal banking, banks are not limited to just loans, checking and savings accounts, and other similar activities, but are allowed to offer investment services as well. There are however, challenges that come with these, which, if not carefully looked at may negate the intended benefits of Universal banking for Ghana. With the uncertain economic conditions and competitive environment banks operate in Ghana today, and the benefits that come with Universal Banking for both the Banks and the economy as a whole, a study is required to find out the link between universal banking evolution and the bank’s performance as far as profitability, liquidity, risk, solvency, efficiency and the bank’s market share is concerned.
The aim of this study is to examine how the introduction of Universal Banking Policy has affected the performance and operations of banks. The outline of the key objectives to be covered in this study is given below:
1. To primarily determine the link between universal banking evolution and the bank’s performance as far as profitability and the bank’s market share is concerned.
2. To examine how universal banking policy has affected banks’ profitability, liquidity, risk and solvency, and efficiency.
3. To evaluate the extent to which universal banking policy has improved the face of banking operations and service delivery.
- To what extent has universal banking policy affected banks’ profitability, liquidity, risk and solvency, and efficiency?
- What are some of the extent to which universal banking policy has improved the face of banking operations and service delivery?
To investigate the performances and quality of service delivery by both local and foreign banks in the banking industry in Ghana, the study would use both primary and secondary data by focusing on trend and financial analysis.
The primary data was obtained through the administration of structured questionnaires. Secondary data was collected from Ghana Stocks Exchange for the period from 2002 to 2008 and annual publications of Ghana association of bankers. The analysis of data collected was quantitative. The data was analysed using, percentages, tables and graphs.
Universal banking in Ghana, like in other countries where the concept has been in operation, encourages the emergence of large bank groups that offer both banking and other types of financial services, thus for instance some institutions will add stock-broking subsidiaries to their primarily commercial banking activities. A good example here is HFC Bank, which offers commercial banking, investment banking, and mortgaged banking and also uses its subsidiary HFC Investment Services to run fund management services, including three different unit trust schemes. All this will require smarter regulation of the financial services industry. This will have to include closer cooperation between the Bank of Ghana and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The wind of change is blowing across Ghana’s banking industry. With them come new challenges and new opportunities. Meeting these challenges and exploiting these opportunities will sooner rather than later determine the shape of things to come in the country’s efforts at financial intermediation. This study will as well add up to available knowledge on Universal Banking in Ghana in the light of making banking business more efficient.
There are several facets of Universal banking and this study concentrated mainly on the performance of a bank in terms of profitability, service quality and that universal banking, if there was any inherent benefit to the stability of the economy, before and after its introduction on the operations and performance of Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited and Ghana Commercial Bank Limited. As anticipated, some officials who filled out questionnaires for the study were not prepared to disclose certain information they consider sensitive to business strategy but which would have been necessary for drawing more inform conclusions. One other limitation for this study was time and financial constraints, which, to a very large extent did not permit an extensive study on the topic. The study however becomes a platform for future further studies.
To mitigate these limitations, a fund should be established to support researchers to enable them do an extensive study into this topic. Also organizations should be encouraged to give out information required by establishing research centres in their organizations to help other prospective researches with the necessary information to ensure more informed conclusions to be drawn.
The study is organized into five (5) chapters. The introductory chapter focuses on the background to the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study and limitation. Chapter two (2) sets forth the literature review on universal banking; the concept is extensively reviewed with the aim of providing conceptual frame work for the study. Chapter three (3) begins with full description and explanation of the procedures followed in the collection of the data, that is both primary and secondary data. Chapter four (4) focuses on the profile of the organizations, data analysis and discussion of the results from the analysed data. The fifth and final chapter gives the summary, conclusion and the recommendations arising thereof from the study.
This chapter examines the general overview of the banking system in Ghana; development so far, and its unique features. It also looks at variables such as universal banking concept, evolution of universal banking, deployment of universal banking principles and concepts in Ghanaian banks, and benefits and limitations of universal banking policy. Since literature on these variables are sparse in Ghana, the literature focuses on researches outside Ghana. The purpose is to determine how universal banking policy impacts on the performance and operations of banks.
The banking sector in Ghana has witnessed some visible innovations in recent years and experts have cited Bank of Ghana’s introduction of the universal banking concept/policy which mandates banks to offer all types of banking services. Now banks are mandated by the Banking Act, 2004 to increase their minimum capital to GHS7 million to qualify to operate as a universal bank in the country. Prior to the enactment of the Banking Act in 2004, the banking sector was structured along four main banking operations: merchant, commercial, development and investment banking. Under the universal banking concept, categorization of the banking sector seizes to exist and banks are allowed to do any general banking business. The introduction of card system or the electronic payment system by the banks are all geared towards a cashless economy, where electronic payment would replace the cash based economy, which comes at a cost to the economy.
The call by the Central Bank five years ago to banks to abolish some banking charges has also contributed to the innovative products being pursued by the banks. However analysts point to the fact that in spite of some of the new innovations, the banking sector accounts for less than 10 percent of total money in circulation. This poses a great challenge to the banking sector. The challenge is acknowledged by the banks recognizing that if the country were to achieve its growth target, it can only be done through savings and investment in the economy. It is estimated that the banking sector only accounts for less than ten percent of the total money circulation and it is against this backdrop that Bank of Ghana in collaboration with all banks in the country has introduced the E-Zwich card system. This latest innovation is geared towards bringing on board the informal sector of the economy to the banking system in Ghana.
The many innovative products that have been introduced by the banks over the past few years are an indication of the dynamic and the competitive nature of the banking industry in the country and with more banks coming into the economy, the competition is expected to be keener and the benefits would be felt by the banking community.
Banking in Ghana started with British overseas banks. In the 19th century the economies of British overseas colonies had sufficiently grown through trade. The first bank in Ghana was the British Bank of West Africa (now Standard Chartered Bank) established in 1896. The bank which was established in Liverpool in 1894 decided to set up a branch in Accra. It was through the effort of Messrs Elder Dempster Lines which needed banking services for its branches in West Africa.
A Colonial Bank (today’s Barclays Bank Ghana Limited) was set up by a Royal Charter in England in 1836 and opened a branch in Accra in 1917. The name was changed to Barclays Bank DCO (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas), when its assets were taken over by Barclays Bank, which was already operating in India and East Indies for decades.
These two expatriate banks dominated the banking scene in the Gold Coast for over 36 years, until 1953 when the Bank of Gold Coast (present day Ghana Commercial Bank) came into existence. In 1947 political analysts in the country agitated for the establishment of a national and central bank. A committee led by Paton was set up but its report rejected the idea of central bank and suggested an experimental state aided commercial bank.
The expatriate banks which were established by the colonial masters to provide banking services to the indigenous people in the then Gold Coast failed to carry out their mandate. Farmers and indigenous business people were largely neglected by the expatriate banks. After independence the national government adopted development priorities that emphasized rapid industrialization, and the modernization of agriculture and the national economy. The government considered establishing its own bank with the view that the operational focus of the foreign commercial banks, especially their lending policies, was too narrow, thus depriving large section access to credit. Again, the government of Ghana aimed at establishing its own banks based on the contention that sectors important for development, such as industry and agriculture, required specialized banks to supply their financial needs.
The branches of these foreign banks were also mainly located in the urban commercial areas and the rural folks found it difficult to access their services. The government, not comfortable with the focus of the foreign banks due to their conservative lending policies which did not suit Ghanaian businesses and individuals, established the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) in 1953 to improve access to credit by indigenous businesses and individuals in Ghana. Another aim of establishing GCB was to expand and extend a branch network into rural areas. That was to assist the people in the rural areas to have access to banking facilities and also to lend to support the agricultural sector. GCB was established based on the recommendations made by the Trevor Report, an enquiry commissioned by the government into banking in the then Gold Coast (Newlyn and Rowan, 1954, P 82).
Sir Cecil Trevor’s committee, 1951 was the second committee to be set up on the establishment of National bank on commercial lines. The committee’s report, though, rejected the formation of a fully fledged central bank of issue but rather recommended for a semi-government bank to be conducted on commercial lines. This formed the basis for the bank of the Gold Coast Ordinance passed in 1957 and the set up of Bank of Ghana.
The functions of Bank of Ghana as a central bank were promulgated by the Bank of Ghana Act 1963 and as amended by the Banking Law 1989 PNDC Law 225. The Bank was mandated to play supervisory role over all banks, with powers to control and issue policy guidelines for all banks.
In the 1980s, Ghana Commercial Bank became the largest bank in Ghana with total bank deposits of 36%. The Social Security Bank (SSB) now Societé Generale – Social Security Bank was established as the second bank in Ghana in 1977. It became the second largest bank in the late 1980s with deposit of 18%. The bank provided credit, including longer term loans for businesses and individuals. It also invested in the equity of several large companies. In 1972, Post Office Savings Bank was established to take over the savings mobilization function of the Ghana Postal Service. The bank was, in 1975, re-named National Savings and Credit Bank (NSCB) to reflect its core functions. Co-operative Bank was also set up in 1975 to both provide consumer loans, credit for small industries and Co-operatives. To strengthen the banking sector in those days, Merchant Bank Ghana Limited (MBGL) was established in 1972 as a joint venture between ANZ Grindlays, the Government of Ghana and public sector financial institutions with the former having 30% stake.
With the aim to accommodate sectors and enterprises that were considered strategic, three development banks sprung up. They were National Investment Bank (NIB) in 1963 to provide long term finance for industry, Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) in 1965 to support the agricultural sector and Bank for Housing and Construction (BHC) in 1974, to provide credit facilities for housing, industrial construction and companies producing building materials. It is interesting to note that following the indigenization decree enacted in 1975 which applied to all large scale industries, the government did not nationalize Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank but rather acquired 40% equity stakes in each of the two banks.
Many banks were established after these government financial institutions. In 1992 the Meridian BIAO was set up and in 1995, First Atlantic and Metropolitan and Allied Banks (now BPI Bank Ltd.) also came on board. These were Merchant Banks. These banks have major equity participation from the local private sector.
SSB took over NSCB in 1994, before the government in 1995, moved to sell part of its holdings in SSB to Societe Generale and the bank is now known as SG-SSB Bank. Other banks such as the Trust bank, Cal bank, Ecobank, Prudential bank, Unibank, Amalgamated bank, International Commercial bank, HFC bank and Stanbic have all joined the competition.
In 2004 new banks such as United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Ltd., Zenith bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Intercontinental Bank and Fidelity Bank also stepped on Ghanaian soil. Apart from these universal banks, there are rural and community banks in various parts of the country. ARB Apex Bank has been established to take an oversight responsibility over the activities of the rural and community banks. There are about 123 rural and community banks in Ghana now. As of March 2008, the number of banks licensed in the sector total 27 including two representative banks (Citibank N.A and Ghana International Bank PLC.). These banks now have network of 600 branches. Apart from these banks, there are currently 13 savings and loans companies.
The banking sector in Ghana has had its fair share of scandals and bank closures. Cooperative bank, Meridian BIAO and Bank for Housing and Construction have been liquidated.
The Bank of Ghana is looking forward to promote development of the financial system that is effectively integrated and in tune with the global financial market that is capable of providing a diversified range of financial instruments and services to support a dynamic growing economy. The banking industry in Ghana is very vibrant and prudent, and with the liberalized market system in, it is expected that more banks will enter the Ghanaian economy to join the competition.
Universal banking refers to the combinations of commercial banking and investment banking including securities business. Universal banking is defined as (Saunders, and Walter, 1994:13) “the conduct of range of financial services comprising deposit taking and lending, trading of financial instruments and foreign exchange (and their derivatives) underwriting of new debt and equity issues, brokerage investment management and insurance”. Universal banking helps service provider to build up long-term relationships with clients by catering to their different needs. The client also benefits as he gets a whole range of services at lower cost and under one roof.
Universal banking includes not only services related to savings and loans but also investments. However in practice the term ‘universal banks’ refers to those banks that offer a wide range of financial services, beyond commercial banking and investment banking, insurance etc. Universal banking is a combination of commercial banking, investment banking and various other activities including insurance. If specialized banking is at one end, universal banking is at the other. This is most common in European countries.
It is a multipurpose and multi-functional financial supermarket providing both ‘Banking and Financial Services’ through a single window. Rime and Stiroh (2003) believe that large banks operate extensive network of branches, provide many different services, hold several claims on firms (including equity and debt) and participate directly in the corporate governance of firms that rely on the banks for funding or as insurance underwriters under universal banking.
In a nutshell, a universal banking is a superstore for financial products, under one roof. Corporate bodies can get loans and avail themselves for other handy services, while individuals can bank and borrow. It includes not only services related to savings and loans but also investment. However in practice the term ‘universal banking’ refers to those banks that offer wide range of financial services beyond the commercial banking functions like Mutual Funds, Merchant Banking, Factoring, Insurance, Credit Cards, Retail loans, Housing Finance, Auto Loans, etc (Calomiris, 1995).
Federal Republics of Germany and Switzerland are generally known to be the home of universal banking (Rich and Walter, 2008). Factors like technological upgrading wide spread of applications and increasing competition in financial sector are the driving forces in these nations. In few other European countries, almost all other banking and non-banking services are carried out by financial institutions. For instances, in Germany, commercial and investment banking activities are preformed by a single entity, but separate subsidiaries are required for other activities, but UK a separate subsidiaries of commercial banks involve in providing wide range of activities (Canals, 1997).
What the USA follows is an extreme model, where the commercial banks are prevented legally from combining their normal lending functions with investment operations. They are separated by several legislative acts, including the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. However, at present USA is having a re-look at this position. Much of the international debate on universal banking has been centred around the restriction on diversification of a type (Chaitanya, 2005).
Since the financial sector reforms, the traditional difference between commercial banks and various other service providers’ including financial institutions has been reducing (Abor, 2004). Traditionally, the commercial banks in Ghana were largely into the core banking business of accepting deposits and providing working capital funds to agriculture and allied trade and industry sectors. Things started changing ever since the process of liberalization hit the Ghanaian shores; the banking sector saw the emergence of new generation private sector banks (Boateng, 2006). Public sector banks which played a useful role earlier on are now facing deterioration in their performance. For very long, the banks in Ghana were not allowed to have access to stock markets. So their dealing in other securities was minimal.
But the financial sector reforms changed it all, Ghanaian banks started to deal on the stock market but their bitter experience with scams made them became averse to deal in equities and debentures. Off late, commercial banks in Ghana have been permitted to undertake a range of in-house financial services. Some banks have even setup their own subsidiaries for their investment activities. Subsidiaries including the area of merchant banking, factoring, credit cards, and housing finance. At present, Ghanaian banks are engaged in credit, consumer finance, savings, money and capital, advisory services and recently insurance market. Therefore, the Ghanaian banks are already moving in the direction of Universal banking, undertaking all the financial services under one cover.
In Ghana, The Financial Institutions were established and developed by the Government of Ghana and Bank of Ghana (BOG) to meet specific needs of industry. They were traditionally engaged in long term financing, as their main objective was to take care of the investment needs of industries and to contribute to a better industrial climate. They had, over the time, built up expertise in merchant banking, project evaluation and also started giving working capital finance. Recently, they were allowed to accept medium-term deposits within the specified limits. Financial Institutions have also been permitted to combine their traditional activities with investment banking activities with certain moderate restrictions. Most of Financial Institutions have floated banks, institutions and mutual fund subsidiaries. Ownership changes took place, several institutions went public and their organization structures got transformed (Berger and Udell, 1996).
The concept of Universal Banking or a bank that engages in a broad range of financial service activities began to creep into the banking system in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Europe is considered the home of the Universal banking system however it has been adopted around the world in varying degrees. However it wasn’t until around 1999 that the United States lifted prohibitions blocking the idea of a Universal Bank making them one of the last countries willing to adopt the model (Hughes and MacDonald, 2002). A universal bank normally has three distinguishable services which include:
Commercial Banking – This is the routine operations of the bank which comprise mostly of deposit taking and lending as well as the associated functions that go with these tasks. Commercial banking was implemented to provide individuals with a secure place to store their funds.
Investment Banking – This section of the universal banking model deals with the securities, which including issuing, underwriting and distributing them. Investment banking was introduced in North America through the United States shortly after the Revolution. The main reason for the introduction of Investment banking was for the governments to issue bonds to finance wars, banks and internal improvements (Ber, Yishay and Oved, 2001).
Insurance – The final division of a Universal Bank is the insurance sector. This is basically the division where the bank offers products for individuals to transfer risk from one party to another for a premium. It can be seen as taking a small loss to prevent a catastrophic loss. There are many different types of insurance products for all cases, these ranges from auto insurance to life insurance to credit insurance.
Universal banking can be potentially beneficial since it allows the commercial bank to diversify into other activity areas and thus reduces the risk of failure. On the other hand, some nonbank activities may be more risky than banking activities when viewed on a stand-alone basis (Saunders and Walter, 1996). Ever since the financial sector reforms were introduced in the 80s and 90s the banking sector saw the emergence of new generation of private sector banks. These banks gained at most popularity as they have technological edge and better business models when compared to public sector banks and the most important thing is that they are able to attract more volumes simply because they meet their customers’ requirements under one roof. If the newer players can do that then why cannot the bigger players like the Financial Institutions (FIs) try their hands on? Here comes the concept of universal banking, its emergence, merits and related issues.
Universal Banking, means the financial entities – the commercial banks, Financial Institutions undertake multiple financial activities under one roof, thereby creating a financial supermarket. The entities focus on leveraging their large branch network and offer wide range of services under single brand name. The idea of offering all financial services under one roof is a good concept, however there needs to be structure in place in order for this concept to work (Santos and Rumble, 2003). There are three main types of universal banking structure models they include:
Banking Activities Securities Activities Other Activities
With this structure, the banking activities, securities activities and other activities like selling insurance are conducted within in a single organization through different departments.
illustration not visible in this excerpt
According to Dabholkar (1994), this is where there is a banking parent who controls a securities subsidiary as well as another subsidiary that deals with other activities. An example of this would include CIBC being the banking parent and then CIBC World Markets being its securities subsidiary.
Financial Services Holding Company
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Under this structure each of the universal banking activities is done under individual subsidiary. This is the least integrated of the three structures. Each of the three subsidiaries acts as its own company with the financial holding company being the link between them.
According to Benston (1994), universal bank is a name given to banks engaged in diverse kind of banking business which includes not only services related to savings and loans but also investments, offering wide range of financial services, beyond commercial banking and investment banking and insurance. If specialized banking is the one end, universal banking is the other. This is most common in European countries and this concept is widely popular in countries like USA but it is about to take-off officially in Ghana, as the definition of Universal Banking is yet to be established clearly and conclusively (Shekar, 2005). A narrow view of Universal banking could be activities pertaining to lending plus investments in bonds and debentures. A broader view could include a basket of all the financial activities including insurance.
 1933 congressional law, in USA, prohibited commercial banks from owning brokerages. However, latter rules have softened, and many banks now own discount brokers, sell mutual funds, and participate in underwriting.
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