Banks urged to identify new niches in the market

The Chief Executive Officer of Universal Merchant Bank (umb), Ms Nilla Selormey, has said it is time for the banks in the country to identify new niches in the market where each can play efficiently and still achieve good growth.

“Although we collaborate amongst ourselves, it is time to either identify new niches in the market where we each can play efficiently and still achieve good growth despite our various individual sizes, otherwise we will need to have or become bigger banks and this could well happen by way of forced mergers and acquisitions”, she said.

Ms Selormey, who is also the Managing Director of the bank, made the observation in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra at the weekend.

“We are definitely in a hyper-competitive market because the banking sector currently has 28 banks and the number is increasing”, she said.

According to her, “if you compare this to countries such as Nigeria, which is significantly larger than Ghana in terms of population, but has just about 25 banks, it is clear that we are operating in a very competitive market”.

Ms Selormey was of the view that as the number of banks increased, there was the need for players in the industry to work extremely hard to make sure that “our financial product and service offering remains competitive and relevant amongst so many remarkable industry players”.

She said the banks would have to be adequately sized to ensure that they catered for the financial needs of the larger economy with the size of projects that were required to support growth and industrialisation in the country.

“A situation like this will also make for more efficiency and dynamism”, she added.

Asked about which sectors of the economy the bank was most dominant in, she said, “We have always been very strong in the corporate banking sector and we continue to build on that expertise with our experienced professionals in our multinationals, local corporates, financial institutions, government business and parastatals and non-profit organisations units”.

Ms Selormey also said the bank was also growing in the retail sector as it intended to translate the strength of its relationship management excellence to the retail sector.

“We have launched many new products that address key financial needs of the retail sector, including our unique Future Generation Accounts, which are savings products segmented for different stages in a child’s life”, she said.

“Our Future Generation Accounts include our ABC Account for newborns to five-year olds, Piggy Bank Account for six-12-year olds, Smart Teen Account for 13-16-year olds and Young Adult Account for 17-19-year olds”, she said.

Ms Selormey said the bank had also created a fantastic student account called the Aspire Account, which focused on the financial concerns of tertiary students. “When you look at the sum of our product offering, we have created products that cover the full circle of one’s life from the very beginning with our ABC Account to their golden years with our Silver Saver Account”, she said.

According to her, it is the bank’s aim to be more than just a financial institution; it wants to be a partner to its customers in their journey of life.

Source : Graphic Online