Altruistic Banking: You First


Undertaking business with an agenda to go the extra mile for your patrons can be counter-productive at times but truth be told, it is in wowing your clients with your service and products that they will be hooked onto you. This seems to be exactly what FBNBank has done over the years.

FBNBank’s Brand DNA is “You First,” a claim which obviously has serious altruistic leanings and would raise issues of doubt in the minds of some of us regarding how successful such an agenda of being very focused on making your clients satisfied would be. What about profit? Isn’t that why we go into business? Well, if this is so in your case, as it was for me years ago, do not be because there is ample proof that this Bank backs this claim to the hilt with action and is making a success of it.

In 2007 a friend of a friend registered a business, Sag-An Limited for the supply of building materials, civil and electrical construction, water, and sanitation services. They (Sag-An Limited) set up shop not too far from the then International Commercial Bank (ICB) and as providence would have it, my friend’s friend decided to open an account with ICB. This was purely because of proximity, I was told.

The relationship was quite normal and Sag-An over the years recorded steady growth as ICB’s focus was Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The relationship took a more positive turn with the emergence of FBNBank on the scene in 2013, as the Bank bought the ICB franchise across West Africa.

According to Margaret Sylvia Asamoah, CEO of Sag-An, “we could immediately tell there was a difference in the way our issues were handled and how we were treated. All our anxiety about how the new owners of the Bank would continue the business were dispelled. These guys were committed to win us over at all costs and I must say they have succeeded. Our progress can be credited to them, particularly the support they have given to us over the years, and we would gladly recommend them to any businessperson who needs a reliable and understanding bank to work with.”

Today, Sag-An is one of the top hardware building materials suppliers with a total of four outlets in the Central Region. This achievement was made possible in part because of the tenacity of Margaret Sylvia Asamoah and FBNBank that was willing to work and grow with the Client. Fact is, FBNBank has been there for Sag-An ensuring that all the necessary support the Client needed was available to them. This helped Sag-An to build the needed capacity for expansion and growth. Along with this came with an increase in the Client’s staff size from an initial five to 58 employees that work with Sag-An. FBNBank has been and continues to be Sag-An’s major bank handling all their key transactions.

The story of Sag-An brings to the fore how a Bank can empower an SME and thereby help transform the economy. FBNBank remains committed to deliver the ultimate gold standard of value and excellence to customers and clients as a way of becoming a partner of choice in building their future.

Victor Yaw Asante, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FBNBank tells me that, “all institutions need to build trust and one of the most common ways is to deliver on what you promise as a brand. At FBNBank we promise to keep our clients at the heart of what we do. For us this is the only way we can ensure a win-win situation which will keep both client and Bank satisfied. This has been tested over the years, even by our parent bank, First Bank of Nigeria in their 129 years of existence and it has delivered for them.”

For 16 years, FBNBank nurtured Sag-An, putting the interest of the client first in keeping with our DNA. While it may seem a great story of how to remain focused on one’s brand positioning, the critical issue here for me is the fact that yet again we get to see how true the saying that the “customer is king” is. Sometimes we confuse the point about this, but I tell you that in ensuring that the customer remains king, you will be generating the needed momentum which your business requires for a solid performance. As Mr. Asante said, “it is a win-win situation” but I say, if anyone had told me banking can be offered on an altruistic platform I would have shouted “no”. Now I know better courtesy of FBNBank which preaches putting customers at the heart of what it does and backs it with putting them first. You may want to get a taste of the FBNBank experience. I say, “try it.”

The writer is the Country Team Lead, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FBNBank Ghana Limited]


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