Ghana Banking Roundtable reveals a sector buoyed by digital prospects

Ghana Banking Roundtable reveals a sector buoyed by digital prospects

Participants in a roundtable discussion on banking in Ghana agreed that the Small and Medium Enterprises were key to the growth of the sector.

They said digitisation will enable banks to serve them better and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving economy.

The discussion was facilitated by African Banker magazine, the premier publication on financial services in the continent in partnership with Netherlands-based company Backbase, the creator of the Engagement Banking Platform (EBP), a unique solution supporting banks in their own digital transformation journey.

In attendance at the event were Nana Dwemoh Benneh, Chief Executive Officer of Universal Merchant Bank (UMB); EbowQuayson, Executive Director and Head of Business Banking at Prudential Bank Ghana; Leopold Armah, Head of Digital Transformation at Prudential Bank Ghana; Emmanuel Nikoi, Head of Retail and Business Banking at Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG); and Abel Daitey, Chief Information Officer at Ghana Commercial Bank.

Also, present were Aymen Daoud and Alexander Bailey, Regional Head and Business Development Manager – Africa respectively of Backbase. The session was moderated by Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher and Managing Director of African Banker magazine.

The discussion focused on how digital services can enable banks to serve SME customers better, while improving efficiency and reducing costs.

SMEs in Ghana are the lifeblood of the economy, with close to eighty percent of businesses operating in the country answering to that description.

There was also a consensus amongst the bankers around the table that after servicing government, SMEs provided the biggest profit pool potential.

Traditionally, banks had struggled to serve that market, owing to poor record keeping on the part of SMEs and cost of credit associated with the high risk posed by companies in that sector.

The underdeveloped credit architecture, such as credit reporting systems, also serve as a hindrance in bank’s efforts to serve the sector.

Leveraging technology, and new regulation such as the Ghana Card will help with KYC and lower onboarding costs.Until recently SMEs had to rely on micro-finance institutions, who had lower barriers of entry and much more flexible conditions of service.This however proved their undoing and a cleanup of the sector embarked on by the regulator, the Bank of Ghana, saw many of these institutions losing their licenses.This has given banks another opportunity to engage with SMEs by tailoring products that suit their needs and by adopting approaches that reduce costs, including digital services.Financial inclusion in Ghana, according to the panellists at the roundtable, has been boosted greatly […]

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