Three factors are driving transparency in the financial sector – UMB’s Amankra-Tetteh

Driving transparency in the financial sector - UMB’s Amankra-Tetteh

…says regulation, customers and technology are changing the narrative

A tripartite of factors – regulation, changing consumer preference, and rapidly evolving technology solutions – is driving transparency in the financial sector, particularly amongst traditional institutions such as banks, and consequently, rebuilding public trust in the sector.

This is according to the Executive Director of Business at UMB, Nii Amankra-Tetteh who has said the development is crucial for national economic development, owing to the critical role banks play as a store and vehicle for redistribution of capital.

“Increasingly, we are beginning to see even stronger regulations coming through and concerns around ethics. Some of the frameworks for governance these days spell out clear codes of conduct and behaviour for bankers and the laws are getting more stringent,” he said on the Springboard, Your Virtual University.

“Technology is allowing for a lot of real-time tracking and processing, which is powering this focus on ethics and governance. This allows for service guarantees and customers appreciate this,” he added.

Mr. Amankra-Tetteh noted that banks are also taking the initiative in improving community engagement and re-orienting their staff and team for this new reality. He added that despite the evolution being witnessed in the mode of service delivery, banking as a concept will remain for the foreseeable future as there does not appear to be a sustainable alternative to its core function of financial intermediation.

“Even with the unfortunate events that have happened in banking industry, we find society returning to the core value proposition. This is because there is no efficient alternate framework on where we store our wealth and how we provide financing for those who have great and viable ideas. Increasingly, we see iterations being made but even with the new innovatio, we realize they are other reflections of the main principles of banking,” he said in the interview.

Speaking on whether to bank or not, he remarked, “the extent to which people bank correlates to economic growth. We know that many emerged economics have largely banked populations with high swing rates. For many people, banking is a very personal and individualised experience but, that is how a society makes decisions about where to invest, it is where it funds ideas that make society grow.”


With customers placing a high premium on access to products and services, as well as increased emphasis on convenience, he said, the tide has shifted, and banking can no longer treat the concept of the customer being king as mere rhetoric.

This, he noted, has been compounded by easier access to documenting and sharing of information as he warned that negative publicity could have a significant impact on indices such as sales, market capitalisation and revenue, which could prove long-lasting, even permanent.

To this end, he added, UMB has taken deliberate steps to ensure customers receive an unparalleled and standardised experience across delivery touchpoints, through consistent engagement and feedback.

“In all CEO suites and Board rooms, the customer is truly king as all banks are trying to win back trust through service excellence and superior customer experiences. At UMB this has seen us begin a very deliberate, step-by-step journey to becoming number one in customer-centricity,” he stated.

He expressed that it is for the aforesaid that the Bank launched the “Power of Feedback” campaign on the back of the Global Customer Service Week in October to ensure every customer engagement is afforded the opportunity for instant and valuable feedback. This will form the basis of regular service reviews and optimisations that guarantee exceptional customer experience.

A product of good leaders (and followers)

Chronicling his career path during the interview, Mr. Amankra-Tetteh said he was a product of unbelievable leadership and followership. The University of Ghana-educated Agricultural Economist-turned career banker began his journey at the Standard Chartered Bank in 2001 as a Trade Operations assistant. He transitioned to the role of Corporate Services Manager and later, Credit Analyst.

In 2006, following his passion for SME Banking, he joined the erstwhile Barclays Bank Ghana as a Business Development Manager for the newly formed Local Business Team. In that role, Nii pioneered many SME innovations including the Business Club concept as a B2B marketing tool.

In his 12 years at the bank, he served in various capacities, growing the bank and the Group’s retail business portfolio. He had stints as the Area Manager, Retail Banking (2009 – 2010); Head of Retail Distribution (2010 – 2013); Head of Retail Banking (2013 – 2014) and Head, Network Optimization at the Barclays Africa Group.

As the Head of Network Optimisation, he was responsible, among other things for “reviewing the Group’s footprint in markets across Africa and leading the discourse on reshaping that footprint to better align with evolving customer needs, preferences and trends.”

The scope of the role also included “determining the right format of branch footprint that best aligned with customer needs, making the right investment decisions to future-proof the distribution, eliminate systemic costs that do not support great returns and the creation of an omni – channel network.”

Mr. Amankra-Tetteh returned to Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited, Accra (now Absa Bank) in September of 2016 as Director, Retail & Business Banking a role he held until November 2017. He was then appointed Managing Director/CEO of Bayport Savings and Loans PLC, a month later, where he superintended over the strategic consolidation, turnaround, and delivery of the best results ever in its 18- year history in the country.

One foot backward?

Touching on why he willingly left his role as the CEO of Bayport Savings and Loans to take up a job as an Executive Director at UMB in July 2021- a move, many viewed as a career step down – he stated that the level of impact he could drive, and not the title of role was the motivating factor.

“When I took up the job as CEO for Bayport, the attraction was never about the title. I was told about a challenge that was on hand and what they wanted to do and that was what got me excited. Anytime I have made a move from one job to the next, the question I have always asked myself is how much impact I can make on the job,” he said.

Whilst employer, shareholders, and other stakeholders’ satisfaction is at the top of his goals, and one that he does not take lightly, Mr. Amankra-Tetteh explained that he would view his time at UMB as successful based on the number of people who develop under his leadership.

“Personally, real success would have been the number of people who have grown because of my leadership. It matters to me; how many people would have had a different perspective on how to lead and how many would see UMB as a place where they can expend their energy.”

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