UT Bank pledges support to SMEs

Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, CEO of UT BankMr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, CEO of UT BankUT Bank is to leverage its partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to improve the lots of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

The bank is hoping that through the Africa Micro Small Medium Enterprise (AMSME), one of the fruits of the UT-IFC partnership, SMEs in the country, especially those that are clients to the bank, would benefit from technical and training assistance.

The Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, said this at its annual general meeting in Accra.

He also  reiterated the bank’s commitment to establishing itself as the market leader in SME financing.

He said UT Bank recognised the importance of the SME sector to the development of economy and as such, would work closely with the IFC to bring financial relief to them.

UT Bank has, over the past years, partnered the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to provide technical and financial assistance to SMEs in the country.

Such assistance have helped lessen the financial difficulties by making it possible for them to access medium to long term loans from the bank.

That has helped eased the burden of financial challenges on the sector, some of which are lack of credit and/or collateral to access loans from the banks, high cost of credit and rising cost  of operations,

Mr Amoabeng said in an interview after the bank’s meeting that “we have always reiterated that we are for the SME sector. We are still focusing on SME, making sure we have the loan that they need,” he said.

He admitted that current developments on the financial industry, increasing the rising interest rates, was making things for banks but added that the bank’s new product – the UT Bank on Wheels’ will help drive home its retail banking agenda.

He also hinted of the bank’s quest to roll out more branches in other parts of the country.

He mentioned Tamale, Suame, Techiman as some of the areas the bank would want extend its reach to before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the bank posted a profit before tax of GH¢26.7 million in 2012 as against GH¢17.3 million in 2011.

Its total assets also rose by 38.5 per cent to GH¢987 million in 2012, something the bank’s CEO said was mainly on account of a sharp rise in net loans and advances.

The bank’s net loans and advances increased by 43.1 per cent in 2012 over the previous year figure. 

Mr Amoabeng explained that loans disbursed in 2012 were in excess of GH¢480, adding that the increase in loans and advances was made possible by increased liquidity resulting from the additional funds from some of its partners. 

The bank’s income was GH¢105million as of December 2012, up by 32.6 per cent from 2011 close.

Customer deposits also rose significantly, rising by 46.2 per cent from GH¢546 million in 2011 to GH¢798 million in 2012.

Shareholder’s funds also shot up by 109.8 per cent in 2011 to GH¢128 million in 2012.

A dividend of two pesewas per share was recommended by the bank’s board and later approved by the shareholders.

Story: Jessica Acheampong/Graphic Business