UMB seeks more investment from stakeholders

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The Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) is in discussions with some of its key stakeholders who are willing to invest more in the bank, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Nana Dwemoh Benneh, has disclosed.

He said the investment was to help the bank to build a sustainable banking model hinged on providing quality customer service to its cherished clients, some of whom had been with the bank for over 30 years.

Mr Benneh said that in an interview with the Daily Graphic to mark the 2022 Customer Service Week celebrations.

He said although the bank’s third quarter financials saw a dip in profit, the future was very bright as it still boasted of customers who continued to repose their confidence in the bank.

“Some of these customers are some of the key companies we have in the country and in the economy, so even though we have had challenges, when we look forward to how to make ourselves sustainable, there are enough opportunities that give us the confidence that the future is bright.

“In these discussions, we are speaking with a number of our stakeholders who are standing in readiness to invest more in the organisation because they know that the returns for investment into the organisation would be good,” he stated.

Faithful clients

The CEO said the bank had an anchor of clients who had still remained faithful even in times where it seemed challenging.

He said that was a demonstration that UMB was offering them something useful and beneficial.

Capital adequacy

With regard to the new capital adequacy expectations by the regulator and the threat it poses to indigenous banks, Mr Benneh said the bank had stakeholders that would stand behind the organisation by providing the resources required to ensure that it ran a sustainable business.

He said being an indigenous bank, UMB was focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), often labelled the engine of growth.

“The SME sector seems to connect better with indigenous banks like ourselves, and so once that aspect of the economy takes a hit, the ripple effect obviously is going to be felt by the bank as well.

“But we believe in the resilience of the Ghanaian businessman, we believe in the resilience of the local businesses,” he stated.

He said a number of these local businesses had been able to constantly pull themselves up whenever there had been challenges with the economy, and having been around since 1972 meant that the bank had been walking this path with a number of these businesses.

Digitisation

Mr Benneh said the focus of the bank’s customer service had been on how to use digital services to better serve its customers.

He said the bank recognised that financial services had now been more democratised because of the use of technology and digital services.

“You can now get basic financial services at a certain standard across the world, which means that barriers of entry in terms of competitiveness are relatively low now because everybody has access to these same systems. So the question is: how do we offer it in a different unique memorable way?

“We believe that we’ve been serving Ghana since 1972, and so we have quite a sense of how the Ghanaian business person likes to conduct their business and how they will like to access their information and how they will like to be kept abreast of systems and how they will like us to suggest things to them, so we are holding on to that niche,” he said.

Mr Benneh said the bank looked to digitisation and wanted to position itself as an aggregator of a number of fintechs and players in this area.



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