Union Savings and Loans said it would start operating Automated Teller Machines (ATM) before the end of this year to enable customers to have access to their money even after working hours.
The management of the company told Adom Business they also plan to beat competition on speed through the introduction of e-Banking services this year, as expressed in the company’s tagline “rapid banking, exceptional service”.
This, they said, is part of an overall plan to move very quickly to become a full bank in 2017 and start offering full banking services.
Managing Director of the company, Philip Oti-Mensah told Adom Business SMS banking would come on stream this month, followed by internet banking and ATMs afterwards.
“With the ATM platform Union will join GH-Link, therefore giving the company’s clients access to several ATMs across the country,” he said.
The SMS banking, he said, would enable customers to check their bank balance via SMS, and also receive regular bank balance on their phones.
“The Internet banking would be at the basic level to begin with – it will allow customers to go on the internet and check their account transactions and print statements from the comfort of their homes and offices,” he added.
The company believes Savings and Loans companies, like Union, can do more for the small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) because SMEs constitute a huge chunk of the business sector of the economy and they also deserve quality services. Union’s mission is to become the first choice of this target group due to the speed and customer service quality they offer.
Meanwhile, Philip Oti-Mensah thinks the failure of Savings and Loans companies to adequately meet the needs of SMEs is largely because of poor quality of staff that such companies hire.
“I do not mean to disrespect anybody but people tend to consider savings and loans companies as inferior to banks so they hire low skilled staff to run the companies and they end up needing more hands to do small jobs which leads to inefficiency and customer dissatisfaction.
Oti-Mensah said Union is therefore recruiting only the best human resource to ensure that it provides the best of service to its customers, adding that it is currently working on some investment advisory strategies that would make it best on the market.
He said some Savings and Loans companies are doing a great job because they hired the right quality of staff, but there is need for more savings and loans companies to recruit high quality staff and make their services more efficient to meet the needs of SME sector.
“I believe that if you are a Savings and Loans company and you recruit quality staff you would succeed – you would be able to do medium and corporate loans with speed and attract deposits from corporate bodies just like the banks do, instead of doing only tiny-tiny business with many staff.”
Oti-Mensah said Union would, in the next one year, start a financial education program across the country and start providing regular financial education to Ghanaians, adding that they would also be visiting the major SME markets in Ghana to provide financial education periodically,” he said.
He assured the public that Union would be embarking on a massive branch expansion strategy that would make it very accessible to a lot more Ghanaians. Meanwhile this year alone, the company would open six new branches at Dome, Dzorwulu, Ashaiman, Koforidua, Takoradi and a fourth branch in Kumasi.
Union Savings and Loans is a member of the Jospong and Zoomlion Groups of companies.