Mr. Dominic Kwame Adu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First National Bank Ghana, has disclosed that with the prompt acquisition of GHL Bank Plc, and its subsequent merger with the resultant subsidiary a larger bank was created with the capacity of absorbing the setbacks brought on by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking as part of a panel at the maiden edition of the Vodafone Business Runway which was organized by Vodafone Business in partnership with the National Board of Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), he noted that among other factors such as a robust local balance sheet of over GH¢2.1 billion, the bank was primed to be a key player in supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) during and after the pandemic.
Adding that, as a full subsidiary of First National Bank, it could tap into the resources of the parent group to support its activities in Ghana and elsewhere.
Maintaining a Large Footprint in the financial sector
Illuminating an advantage of the merger in terms of market visibility and penetration, he stated “a crucial benefit of First National Bank Ghana’s merger is the expansion of our footprint to include areas that were not represented, such as Kumasi and Takoradi, and not forgetting the additional branches in Accra and Tema”.
Following sentiments expressed by other bank leaders, he stated that aside from the rising numbers of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) due to the disruptions of businesses, First National Bank Ghana is looking forward to supporting MSMEs across the county as a mediator.
“You cannot have an economy where there are no industries, as such we as banks have realized that fact, so we have been relentless in our desire to ensure that they operate.”
“In view of the overbearing role that the SME sector possesses in the Ghana economy we have set up a strong team focusing exclusively on them. The sheer volume of business conducted by SMEs makes it impossible to ignore and therefore this sector continues to be strategically important to us. We operate in a country that only has a few multi-nationals and corporations with the competition for this business being fierce,” the CEO added.
“Therefore the SME sector is very attractive to us and we are currently trying to provide all the necessary aid. The merger gave us the perfect window to really be of service to a lot more people, and businesses than we would have been able to in the past due to the increased footprint”, Mr. Adu noted.
The Vodafone Business Runway webinar which was held under the theme: ‘After The Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP), What Next? The Way Forward for Ghanaian SME,’ was aimed at empowering Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) with the requisite and adequate skills, insights, and opportunities that would enable them to manage and build thriving businesses in the country.
The virtual event had a cross-section of panelists including main speakers – Patricia Obo Nai, CEO, Vodafone Ghana; Kosi Yankey-Aryeh, Executive Director, NBSSI; Francesca Brenda Opoku, CEO of Solution Oasis Limited among others.