BFTBankingSurvey2022: Ecobank expanding the frontiers of banking, creating excitement in banking, and enhancing stakeholder value

  • Three decades of leadership in product and service scope and Innovation, technology-driven customer convenience, excellent financial performance, and sound financial solidity.

As the local and global economies bounce back, after two years of enduring the devastating effects of COVID-19, business expansion and growth across different sectors is envisaged. Ecobank, by virtue of its business structure and customer focus, appears to see greater prospects and opportunities for businesses now than ever before. That is why the bank continues to deepen its relationships with customers, while pursuing an aggressive deployment of technological products and services to meet individual and business needs. This is evidenced in the bank blazing the trail in identifying the true needs of businesses and providing the right financial support to address them.

With a wide array of services, spanning cutting-edge digital solutions through to the traditional banking solutions of deposits, loans, advisory services, etc., the bank leverages its industry-leading balance sheet size advantages, conferred by its geographical spread of branches across the nation and the use of advanced digital technologies to adequately meet the needs of its business clients. This is aimed at supporting businesses to operate efficiently so as to achieve their set objectives in a sustainable manner.

In line with its corporate mission of providing convenient, accessible and reliable financial products and services to its retail and wholesale customers, Ecobank continues to provide solutions to the varied needs of its customers, through its Consumer/Retail and Business Banking Divisions. Ecobank’s Business banking comprises two main divisions, the Corporate & Investment Banking Division and the Commercial Banking Division.

The former is responsible for managing the bank’s relationships with Private large Companies, State-owned Organizations, Non-Governmental Organisations, International Organisations, Diplomatic Missions, Multinationals, Financial Institutions, Regional Corporates with Pan African footprints, and the likes. On its own part, the Commercial Banking Division is focused on championing the interests of entrepreneurs to create positive and sustainable social and economic outcomes. The target market of the division is further segmented into Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), Local Corporates and Public Sector Institutions, the latter including Ministries Departments and Agencies, as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

Key sectors of interest to Ecobank’s business banking divisions are: Telecommunications, Energy as well as Food and Beverages, among others, where Ecobank provides cash management and payment solutions, trade finance, corporate and project finance, letters of credit, advance payments, and documentary collections. The bank also provides short, medium, and long-term loans, corporate electronic banking services, collections solutions and many forms of advisory services.

The uniqueness of Ecobank’s Business Banking, and by large the bank, as a whole, lies in the size of its balance sheet, which gives Ecobank the ability to undertake bigger ticket transactions than most, if not all of its competitors. Indeed, transactions considered to carry too much accompanying risks for the bank itself to prudently take on, can still be financed by spreading the business and the risks to its parent company Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (the largest shareholder of Ecobank Ghana) and other banks, whether local or international that greatly respect Ecobank Ghana’s leadership in consortium financing.

Crucially, Ecobank leverages its Pan African footprints of presence in 33 countries across Africa, which is central to the African Continental Free Trade Area agenda. Indeed, the bank’s unparalleled pan continental connections make it far and away the best financial intermediation and payments platform provider for enterprises engaged in intra African, cross border trade and investment. Underpinning all this, the bank boasts of the highest quality skilled human capital, robust IT systems infrastructure and a good understanding of Africa’s business terrain to provide bespoke financially-engineered solutions to big businesses, small businesses and everything in-between.

Serving the individual/personal market needs at Ecobank is the Consumer Banking Division. Ecobank’s consumer banking team comprises some of the finest professionals in this part of the world, skilled enough to cater for the needs of individuals of all classes, from students, through entry-to-middle level employees, to top management executives, and high-net-worth individuals. The bank has, for some time now, turned its attention to financial inclusion, ensuring that the unbanked and under-banked Ghanaian citizens are empowered adequately to own and operate bank accounts. Ecobank is therefore deploying many technology-backed solutions to simplify the account opening process. That is why any Ghanaian can open an instant digital account electronically within minutes, once the person has access to a mobile phone.

One such enabler is Ecobank Mobile, which was launched in November 2016, and which is still perceived by the market as the biggest novelty and technology driven innovation that ever happened to retail banking in Ghana and, indeed, all of Africa. Ecobank Mobile has recorded over two million downloads in Ghana since its introduction with high transaction volumes daily. It is arguably the best means of driving Ghana towards a truly cashlite economy and helping to also promote financial inclusion across the country. Transfers between Ecobank accounts linked to the App, such as Ecobank Xpress Accounts (which can be easily opened on downloading the App), savings or current accounts are free of bank charges. Users of Ecobank Mobile can thus open accounts, send money to any account holder in Ghana, mobile money wallets and any Ecobank accounts across Ecobank subsidiaries in Africa.

Ecobank has also launched EcobankPay, which is a Scan and Pay service that is available in-store and online for MasterPass and mVISA. EcobankPay is now part of the national unified payment platform, GhQR, introduced by GhIPSS across Ghana. It is a new electronic payment option that enables customers pay for goods and services directly from their mobile phones. It is a convenient new way of making safer payments and is available at retail shops, restaurants, market stalls, mechanic shops, corner shops, food vendors, online shops and more. Transportation service providers, including inter and intra-city bus service operators, shuttle services, taxi drivers and trotro (commercial bus) drivers can all register for a GhQR code to aid payments by their patrons.

Instructively, the national GhQR payments platform was developed by Ecobank Ghana in the first place, which subsequently invited other banks in the country onto the platform. However, for commercial reasons they each decided to introduce their own version of the platform for the exclusive use of their own respective customer bases. Consequently, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) opted to introduce a national unified version that now facilitates interoperability between the various banks’ platforms, to which Ecobank agreed to be part of in the national interest, but still enjoys the “first mover” advantage with an estimated 20,000 Ecobank merchants using the QR code.

Then there is the novel Ecobank Xpress Point, a new agency banking structure, developed by Ecobank, from where customers can easily deposit and withdraw cash 24/7 as well as perform some basic banking transactions. There are over 6,000 Ecobank Xpress Points located in selected Shell fuel service stations, Melcom branches and other carefully selected shops across the nation. The number continues to grow, as the bank is actively signing on other oil marketing companies, vendors for ECG, GWCL, retail and wholesale shops, small and medium-sized enterprise businesses, etc. all of whom are working as Ecobank Xpress Point Agents nationwide.

This service, thus, makes it possible for the agents to make extra incomes as they become agency points for dealing in financial services. Among the services provided at the Ecobank Xpress Points are Cash deposits and withdrawals for Ecobank Xpress accounts, current accounts and savings accounts; Redeeming e-tokens; Issuance of Cash Xpress Prepaid Cards; International Remittances (RapidTransfer, Western Union, Ria, Money Gram, Vigo, Unity Link), amongst others.

Yet another remarkable addition is Ecobank Xpress Cash, a cardless cash withdrawal function on Ecobank ATMs or at any designated Ecobank Xpress Point around the country. Account holders are required to simply open Ecobank Mobile on their phones, generate e-tokens for use or forward the e-tokens to third parties via SMS, WhatsApp or e-mail. Using the e-tokens, recipients can then cash the amount at any Ecobank ATM without using a card or redeem their funds from any Ecobank Xpress Point.

Ecobank also provides internet banking services, thus, bringing greater convenience to its consumer and business customers. Ecobank online is available for individual customers, while commercial and corporate banking customers respectively use Ecobank OMNILITE and Ecobank OMNIPLUS for remote transactions. The list of electronic and digital products and services for Ecobank customers, is endless as the bank continuously researches into finding new customer-friendly additions.


Considering the sheer usefulness and price competitiveness of Ecobank’s suite of products and services, and the convenience they bring to customers, it is no wonder that Ecobank has remained the largest bank in Ghana, adjudged by balance sheet size, one of the biggest in terms of revenue generation and one of the most profitable as well. The bank closed the 2021 financial year with, yet another sterling performance, once again reconfirming itself as one of Ghana’s top-tier banks. It is instructive to note that since entering the Ghanaian market in 1990, Ecobank has dominated the industry with regards to both local and international formal recognition.

Ecobank has been conferred as Bank of the Year at the Ghana Banking Awards as many times as all the other banks put together, eight time in all. Ecobank remains the only bank to have won the prestigious CIMG Bank of the Year award five times, plus three consecutive years of being in the Marketing Hall of Fame. These, in addition to the many international awards have reflected in the bank’s industry-leading financial performance, which continues to improve by the year.

Ecobank’s latest audited income statement covering the 2021 financial year reveals that the bank grew its total revenues by 10% to reach GHc2.041billion last year, the second largest in the industry. On the back of this and further improvements in operational efficiency which facilitated higher returns on capital – to the appreciation of the thousands of institutional and individual shareholders who have used its listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange to benefit from its outstanding financial performance – profit before tax climbed even faster than total revenues last year, by 14%  to reach GHc893.732 million although Profit after tax went up by 6% only to reach GHS581.897million in the same period as the bank responded to the increased needs of the national purse. This again made Ecobank the second biggest profit maker in Ghana’s banking industry for 2021.

Performance of the bank’s balance sheet was even more impressive, as Ecobank continued growing its loan book with a 14% jump to GHc5.694 billion, while customer deposits grew by 12% to GHc13.228 billion as at the close of 2021, both being the highest in the industry. This is incontrovertible evidence that the banking public in Ghana trusts Ecobank more than any other financial intermediary and also that the bank continues to repay this trust not only with the complete safety of customer deposits but also with unparalleled financial support provided to needy and deserving clients.

The bank also emerged the second biggest in terms of both Total Assets and Owners Equity, growing these respectively by 12% to GHc17.925 billion and 10% to GHc2.683 billion. Ecobank thus posted a well above market average return on average equity of 22.7% and return on average assets of 3.4%. Cost-to-income ratio declined from 47.9% in 2020 to 46% in 2021, reflecting ever improving operational efficiency while capital adequacy ratio improved from 19.57% to 20.41%, (propelled by a combination of prudent risk management on the one side and increased core equity capital on the other) which is one and a half times the statutory minimum insisted on by the Bank of Ghana – even including the 3% capital buffer (making for a total regulatory minimum capital of 13%) applied in Ghana. Instructively, this means Ecobank’s capital adequacy ratio is more than twice the 10% globally accepted minimum as set by the Basle, Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements.

All these put together make Ecobank Ghana the second largest, second most profitable, but singularly most customer friendly bank, using technology to provide the widest suite of most customer convenient, relevant and impactful financial services, delivered not just in Ghana but wherever its customers in Ghana need them, across all of Africa and, indeed, beyond. Which is why it is the most trusted bank among the banking public in Ghana and the one that rewards this trust the most, to its customers, its shareholders, and all other stakeholders alike.

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