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07.04.2007 General News

New bank players excite local front

By myjoyonline

The proliferation of new banks mainly from neighbouring Nigeria is causing a stir among especially the traditional banks. The old and well established banks are now being forced by the presence of these new banks to improve upon their services.

This was evidenced by the disclosure by Barclays Bank's Finance Director Baba Abdulai that his bank is in the process of rolling out more branches nationwide to double its branch network from the current thirty to over sixty.

In addition, flexible loans for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) which did not use to be a part of the bank's operations have now been introduced.

According to Mr. Abdulai, the move had become necessary because of the stiff competition. He also admitted that the banks are not up to the task of competing favourably maintaining current standards.

"The competition is real and you have to strategically position yourself to face it. There are new players in the industry all struggling to capture the market and you may lose out if you are unable to hold on to your customers and work at attracting even more", he said.

Mr. Abdulai was speaking on the topic "Top Line Growth" at a Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry seminar to discuss the 2007 budget.
He said top line growth is basically about focusing on new markets, new products and new customers; and this could be done through acquisitions and mergers.

In addition to this, innovation is very critical to achieving top line growth.

He cited an example of his outfit, indicating that after ninety years of operations in Ghana, Barclays Bank was not being complacent, but rather bringing a lot of innovative products onto the market to favourably compete with new entrants in the sector.

Instead of concentrating on organic growth, where companies simply retained existing customers by deepening relationship, Mr. Baba advised companies to improve the targeting and coverage of new customers.

Several banks have sprung up in the country with lots of new products and this has injected a lot of competition for the limited banking population.

Credit: daily EXPRESS Business