Sahel Sahara Bank (BSIC (GH) LTD) pursues a Pan-African growth agenda
...reflects on interesting journey so far
Many financial institutions entered the Ghanaian market with pomp and pageantry and aggressively pushed for brand visibility within the shortest time but Sahel Sahara Bank’s approach into the country was one of the most silent entrances onto the Ghanaian banking landscape.
Eight years ago the bank began operations but until 2014, not many Ghanaians knew of the bank. Today, the bank is assiduously working to achieve visibility, strength, liquid balance sheet and sustained growth for the future.
With presence in 13 other African countries, the bank has, over the last two years been, pursuing a Pan-African agenda that is aimed at supporting businesses in Ghana and the continent to access funds and financial services.
“We started on the quiet but over the last two years we have set an agenda to brand as a Pan-African bank. We are a part of 14 affiliates across the continent largely in the Francophone region but we have operations in Libya, Sudan, and the Gambia too.
“We are more positioned as a Pan-African bank so going forward this is what we want to harness and let people know that we are instituted to drive trade and investment across Africa,” Dr. Kojo Aboagye-Debrah, Deputy Managing Director of Sahel Sahara Bank said.
In an interview with the B&FT to mark Ghana’s 59th Independence Day celebration, the Deputy Managing Director noted that it has been an interesting journey over the last two years and the bank is looking forward with a lot of optimism.
The bank has seen some aggressive growth over the past two years. The balance sheet size has doubled with significant improvement in profits
“We have positioned ourselves strategically and we have now chalked up these successes,”
In the third quarter of 2014, the bank realigned its business units to the sectors of the economy. Through segmentation into four key areas of Corporate, Commercial, SME and Retail Banking services, a total banking solution agenda has been championed.
“We live in an environment where you can’t control revenue but cost so if the cost of energy is hitting your business, through the use of generators, then you need to cut cost elsewhere. Our cost cutting measures has seen us save twenty five percent (25%) of our budget meant for expenditure.”
We believe that with a huge unbanked population there are opportunities in the country to be tapped and the level of penetration of mobile phones gives more hope to banks to make inroads.
“Many industry players think we are over banked but this is not so with Sahel Sahara Bank. The financial depth in Ghana is still low (below 50%) as compared to countries like South Africa; this means there are opportunities here in Ghana for Banks to grow.”
What will drive banking going forward are speed, accessibility and convenience.
“Speed is driven by technology and that is mobile banking. All payments are going to go through the phone like, tickets, fuel, money transfer and the thinking is to do business through this channel whiles you maintain stability around Corporate Banking.”
Additionally the Bank is in the process of changing its Banking application from Smart Bank to Amplitude Banking application to deliver on this value proposition. “It is a strategic decision because we want to deliver excellent customer service.”
Currently there are some challenges in the economy, however, the long term prospects of the economy looks very promising. The Bank will therefore continue to support the government for the growth of the Ghanaian economy. BSIC Ghana will ensure to use its dividends to support the productive sectors of the economy in this regard.
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