Build strong banks to support economy – UMB CEO tells government

Business News of Wednesday, 2 August 2017



Mr John Awuah addressing the gathering at the bank’s 45 anniversary gala

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Universal Merchant Bank, Mr John Awuah, has called on the government to help build strong and efficient local financial institutions that will help provide financial support for businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in the country.

That, he said, could be done by channelling majority of government’s businesses and transactions through terminals of indigenous financial institutions in Ghana.

“UMB, for example, has played a big role in the socio-economic development of the country for the past 45 years,” he said, noting that the bank could have done more had successive governments strategically channelled majority of its businesses and transactions through indigenous banks.

Speaking at the 45th anniversary gala of UMB in Accra last Friday, Mr Awuah stated that Ghana should not struggle to reinvent the wheel because the script for economic development had already been written.

“I, therefore, wish to use this occasion to call on our policy makers to strategically contribute towards building a strong, efficient and resilient crop of indigenous banks that will provide the needed financial backbone for local corporate entities, SMEs, as well as the public in general,” he said.

He observed that across the world, every economy that was worth its salt had had a group of indigenous and local financial institutions that provided the financial stability and strategic partnership support for local enterprises.

Unlike the multinationals, he said, local financial institutions, when pushed to the wall, would have nowhere to go, saying: “Ghana is our home and our profits, taxes, dividends and the employment we create always stay within the shores of the country.”

Commitment of management

The CEO expressed the commitment of the management of the bank to complete its medium-term plan of becoming the foremost bank in the country by focusing on innovation driven by technology and supported by its excellent customer service delivery.

He said the bank had invested significantly in its operations, processes and infrastructure to take advantage of cutting-edge technology to streamline and strengthen its operations.

He explained that the investment was made towards efforts to provide better banking services for its customers and ensure that it continued to lead the market in the banking and customer service delivery arena.

“Indeed, the next chapter for the UMB will involve an expansion into a new frontier, a new way of banking and I trust that you will all continue to join us in writing the success story of our great bank,” he said.

Facing the future

The Board Chairperson of the bank, Mrs Elizabeth Zormelo, said many top companies in Ghana had, at one time or another, had a relationship with UMB by way of the provision of the necessary financing and banking support to help them grow into what they had become today.

“In fact, as they succeeded, UMB also succeed, because it was a mutually beneficial relationship. We are proud to be part of their success. Indeed, the success of our corporate customers strengthens our business and allows us to expand into universal banking, providing the full range of banking services for our customers,” she stated.

Going forward, Mrs Zormelo said: “The bank will face the future with passion, conviction and the knowledge that we can accomplish what we set our minds to achieve, with God on our side.”

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