Banks must innovate to stay ahead – CIB Prez

Ms. Sappor

Banks must develop innovative strategies to transform the informal unbanked sector of the economy into mainstream banking to sustain profitability, Patricia Sappor, President of the Chartered Institute of Banking, has said.

Ms. Sappor urged them to develop customer-centric business models, simplify business and operating models and optimise distribution channels to enable banks to provide its products and services to a critical mass of customers.

“Only banks that are able to meet these business acceptance criteria will achieve competitive advantage, profitability and sustainability in the industry. The current dynamic banking system calls for re-orientation, retooling, adaptability and continuous upgrade of skills and knowledge in order to be relevant in the industry,” she said.

She was speaking at the institute’s maiden Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme, in Accra, on the theme: Managing Change: A Catalyst for Competitive Advantage in a Dynamic Banking Environment.

She noted that change creates a culture of complaint where people get mad at the situation, they gripe, burn up precious energy on frustration and angry feelings. “Change is an inescapable part of both social and organizational life.  We are all subject to continual change of one form or another,” she said.

Ms. Sappor noted that change is good for growth, development and innovation and managing it properly is key to its success.

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Touching on the change management process, she said all major and minor change programmes face resistance from some quarters with only 10percent of the members willing to accept and support the change initially. With 10percent willing to accept, she noted that 80percent usually “sit on the fence” waiting for an opportunity to make their views known.

“There is the need to identify the 10percent, of people who support the change and there is the need to identify the 80-90percent and understand that they are going through the emotional gateways. Leaders therefore need to understand the reasons for the resistance,” she told the bankers.

She added that communication and friendly open discussion is key to getting them to accept the change over a period of time. “Certain people will have personal motives – these need to be discovered and dealt with in a positive manner. Give all concerned the maximum possible warning of impending change. This will give them time to get accustomed to the idea,” she said.

The president added that managers should explain as far as possible the reasons for the change as the provision of both adequate and accurate information scotches rumors before they can be circulated.

“Involve individuals in the planning and implementation of change as much as possible. They will be more likely to become committed to the change if they feel they can have some influence on the change and its outcome, it is also a way of gaining valuable suggestions,” she added.

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When change, which is inevitable arrives, Ms. Sappor urged all members of the organization to be part of the change. “Get involved in new committees and teams; be an influencer and driver of change; have a sense of meaning; and take time to take stock of how valuable you are to the institution,” she said.

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