BEIGE Group has bright prospects ¬- Nyinaku
Mr Mike Nyinaku, the Chief Executive Officer of the BEIGE Group, a financial services provider, says the future of the company is bright.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Nyinaku said the Beige Group has been resolute in the pursuit and execution of the corporate strategy which had accounted for its success. Some of the challenges since the company’s inception include negative customer perception about banking and finance being the practice of old and mature people.
“When we started BEIGE, we were fairly young and it was difficult to get people persuaded that boys as young as us, could be trusted with people’s hard earned funds. We did not have any long history of work experience in banking nor had we inherited some huge capital to show,” he said.
“Hence inducing confidence in the customer was a herculean task. It was a difficult thing to get customers to believe in us. Even competition wrote us off as they felt we did not have what it takes to run such a business,” he said.
Mr Nyinaku said besides there was also the challenge of regulation as the Bank of Ghana at the time Beige was established had no law in place to regulate the operation of microfinance institutions.
“In order for the institutions to be able to raise or accept deposits from people, they had to find a way to operate two distinct institutions without falling foul of the law or confusing the customer,” he said.
Mr Nyinaku said Bank of Ghana later saw the need to harmonise regulation such that both functions could be performed by one institution, adding that the regulator had provided a lot of guidance to them throughout each stage of the business.
“In this fast changing world, the rules must not and cannot be cast in stone. Technology, competition and entrepreneurship have changed how things happen that you cannot be stuck in your ways. The customer has so much choice now that if you do not evolve to satisfy them you would lose out. Back in the day, customers journeyed to the bank. A few years ago we started taking the bank to the people and now we have even moved further to avail the bank to them on their phones.”
He said most of the regulation in our industry was designed with an intention to minimise risk and protect depositors’ funds and these were introduced at a time when there was absolutely no competition.
“Some of the guidelines could not take account of the impact of a changing world on business processes and believed that it would be a positive catalyst to business development and by extension national development if all the regulators would keep an open mind to changes happening in the business environment and their impact on how service practitioners deliver their services”.
The CEO said despite these challenges, it survived because of its strategic plan with the goal to build within 10 years a platform for the delivery of a broad range of financial services. He said distribution was critical to the success of its model and as such rolled out service lines in reverse order or using what theorists call a backward integration approach, stating that “the Bank or BEIGE Capital Savings and Loans was going to serve as the distribution channel”.
He said the model has worked with about 2,000 staff and offices in 7 regions and the company has become the preferred bank for the informal sector.
“Due to the proximity of our branches to the niche marketing centres, the flexibility of our internal processes the competitiveness of our pricing we are actively modernising and modifying micro-banking”.
He said the company has become a preferred and safe choice for individuals and corporate institutions who want to place funds on short term investments due to growing confidence in their field of operations.
The CEO said the company has invested in infrastructure, technology and talent development and provide direct employment to about 4,000 people and serving a clientele base in excess of 600,000 clients. Mr Nyinaku said BEIGE is now a complete financial services supermarket and offers services in banking, pensions, insurance and investments through its subsidiaries.