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06.05.2007 Business & Finance

Row over Best Bank Award

By myjoyonline

Ecobank Ghana has been adjudged Bank of the Year 2006 for the fifth time at the 6th Ghana banking awards on Saturday.

Ecobank has consistently emerged overall best bank of the year for five times since the banking awards was instituted six years ago, by Corporate Initiative Ghana to stimulate competition and growth of the financial sector.

The fun fair that normally characterizes the announcement of the best bank of the year award winner was absent. The deafening jeers and claps from the crowd were not felt as officials of Ecobank walked to the podium for the award.

Ecobank was also adjudged the best bank in IT and electronic banking; it was the first runner-up in product innovation and corporate social responsibility and second runner-up in corporate banking.

However, Merchant bank, which was the best in Advisory services, short and long-term loan financing, competitive pricing and retail banking, has registered its dissatisfaction with this year's results.

Speaking to Joy News, the General Manager of Finance at Merchant Bank, Mr Sam Acquaye, said their outstanding performance in the 13 categories compared to Ecobank should have won them the ultimate award.

“Having done very well in about five categories and with this kind of performance I thought that we should have really won the best bank of the year. We were all surprised and you could see that the whole place was quiet. Even Ecobank was not excited about winning. May be we would go and study the basis for arriving at the best bank of the year,” he said.

But the Head of Corporate Affairs Unit of Ecobank Ghana Limited, Mr Rami Baitie told Joy News that they won the award on merit and anybody who has any objection should address it to KPMG, the event statisticians and research consultants.

“You have to ask KPMG that. Don't forget that some of those places that we won or didn't win are heavily weighted and some are not. All we know is that at the end of the day Ecobank wins and don't ask me how…this is an incentive for us. It means that the customers that we have been serving on a daily basis feel we are doing something right and makes us feel we should do more,” he said.

Unibank was adjudged best bank in Customer Care and Corporate Banking, and second runner-up in Advisory services. Stanchart was the best bank in Trade Finance and Financial Performance with Barclays coming tops in product innovation.

Corporate Social Responsibility category was won by Agricultural Development bank. Zenith bank and the United Bank for Africa were the only Nigerian banks that made it to the list of award winners. Zenith won first runner-up in customer care and corporate banking while UBA was second runner-up in Product innovation, IT and electronic banking.