As part of its aim of promoting a savings culture, Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) has partnered with the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) to introduce an innovative savings account product for Government of Ghana (GoG) workers; whose salaries are processed through the CAGD.
Dubbed the UMB Lock Saver Account, the first-of-its-kind product leverages the CAGD’s Third Party Reference System (TPRS), to allow a stipulated sum from the salaries of GoG employees to be deducted at source for the express purpose of savings.
The TPRS hitherto only allowed for Third-Party Institutions (TPIs) to directly deduct loan repayments, insurance premiums, welfare contributions, and credit union deductions from salaries of GoG employees at source.
Offering the rationale for the launch of the product, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at UMB, Nana Dwemoh Benneh, indicated that it was borne out of the results of a study conducted by the bank’s research team, which showed that there was a growing desire for prudent saving by Ghanaian workers. He suggested that this has gained traction following the economic shocks of the pandemic.
Touching on the choice of the name for the products, he said: “Our research indicated that Ghanaians want savings that can be ‘locked away’, very much like the old susu system.”
“Savings that you can truly access when the need is keen. This is why we have designed this unique product to complement our offerings to the Ghanaian worker. A savings account, that any worker can access, delivers one of the best rates on the market and allows for long-term savings. This product will aid customers to build a nest egg for a comfortable retirement or an unexpected life need.”
He added that the bank is spurred on, not solely by offering loans to customers but also by inculcating in them, the culture of savings. This, he said, will ensure that the bank continues its fruitful relationship with the Department and other state institutions, whilst adopting developing technology to bring solutions to customers in every segment of its base.
Taking his turn, the Controller and Accountant General, Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem, who doubled as the guest of honor at the launch, expressed delight at the new layer of application of the TPRS platform which was developed by his outfit.
“It is a matter of pride for us that this innovation has been achieved on the back of our own innovation at the department. TPRS is a testament to the government’s agenda for digitalisation. I anticipate, and I am hopeful, that other banks and insurance companies will take a cue from it and offer similar value to government workers,” he said.
On his part, Director of Consumer Banking at UMB, Samuel Sekyi Hyde revealed that, amongst other things, the product will have a floating rate pegged above the market average for savings accounts. He added that the product could also serve as security for the access of credit.