Saints, Demons, Wizards, Pagans, and Prophets in the Collapse of Banks in Ghana

  • Cletus Agyenim- Boateng University of Ghana
  • Francis Aboagye- Otchere
  • Alice Anima Aboagye
Keywords: bank failures, bank crises, saints, demons, prophets, corporate governance


The essence of banks in an economy cannot beunderscored enough. However, poor institutional as well as unscrupulous banking and accounting practices could collapse a banking system and wreak an economy-wide havoc due to a contagion. Thus, the impact of bank failures/crises are grave. Given that this paper seeks to comprehensively discuss bank failures in the light of both agency and structural perspectives. Also, the study theorizes the causes of bank failures using Ayee's (2000) concepts and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social practice. The study adopted a qualitative methodology and used nine failed Ghanaian banks as cases. A latent content analysis on reports of these recent nine failed banks indicated the banking crises were a reproduction of old social actions, which include weak regulatory supervision, poor corporate governance and risk management practices. Besides, the culture of weak enforcement explained the collapse of the local banks unlike their foreign counterparts who had internalized the culture of their parent companies and also possessed the right cultural capitals. Further, it was observed that weak saints, hungry and deceitful demons, lazy wizards, praise and attention-loving pagans and the neglect of prophets were the issues responsible for the bank crises or failures in Ghana.