The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First National Bank Ghana, Dominic Kwame Adu, has stated that the timely acquisition of GHL Bank Plc, and its subsequent merger with the resultant subsidiary has created a much larger bank, capable of absorbing the shocks occasioned 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, with a robust local balance sheet of over GH¢2.1 billion, the bank is primed to be a key player in supporting SMEs during and after the pandemic.
In addition, as a 100% subsidiary of First National Bank, it can tap into the resources of the larger group to support its activities in Ghana and elsewhere.
Highlighting an advantage of the merger in terms of market visibility and penetration, he stated: “a key benefit of First National Bank Ghana’s merger is the expansion of our footprint to cover areas where we were previously not represented, such as Kumasi and Takoradi, and not forgetting the additional branches in Accra and Tema.”
Echoing sentiments expressed by other bank leaders, he stated that whilst the number of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) has increased as a result of the disruptions to businesses, as an intermediary, First National Bank Ghana is looking forward to supporting MSMEs across the county.
“You can’t have an economy where there are no industries, we as banks have realized the importance of that, so we have been working tirelessly to ensure that they operate; the key word being ‘operate’.
“In view of the dominant role that the SME sector plays in the Ghana economy we have a strong team focusing exclusively on them. The sheer volume of business done by SMEs makes it impossible to ignore and therefore this sector remains strategically important to us. We operate in a country that only has a few multi-nationals and corporates and competition for this business is fierce.
The SME sector, therefore, is very attractive to us and we are actively trying to provide all the help. The merger has provided us with opportunity to really be of service to a lot more people, and businesses than we have been able to in the past due to the increased footprint”, he added.
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 skills, insights and opportunities that will enable them to manage and build thriving businesses.
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. Remote panel contributors were Ethel Cofie, Founder, Edel Technologies; Kwame A.A. Opoku, Global Keynote Speaker / CEO, Reset Global People; Fafape Ama Etsa Foe (CEO, E-90 Ghana Ltd) and Gideon Dendzo, CEO, Giddens Innove.