UT Bank Expects Boost In Lending to SMEs

UT Bank says it expects its profit to double this year on the back of a 30 million dollars investment by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that would help to boost lending to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). IFC, the private lending arm of the World Bank, in March acquired a 22 per cent stake in UT bank at 15 million dollars. It additionally provided 15 million dollars in loans and trade finance, bringing total investment in the bank to 30 million dollars. Speaking at the Facts Behind the Figures Programme on the Ghana Stock Exchange, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive of UT Bank, said with the funding the bank was now in a position to scale up support for more SMEs. “We think we can do more business with the additional funding and that will translate to better profits for the bank,” he said, adding that the financial entity would explore opportunities by offering support to companies in the oil and gas sector. As part of the deal, IFC will extend an Advisory Services programme to strengthen UT Bank’s risk management and corporate governance practices as well as have an independent director on the bank’s Board. Prince Amoabeng said the additional expertise IFC was bringing on board would help the bank to take advantage of practices in other countries that IFC had commitment, to enhance operations. Mrs Pearl Essuah-Mensah, Deputy Managing Director, UT Bank said the bank had been able to sign on 113,000 new account holders in 2012 from 28,000 in 2010. The bank said loans and advances rose by 53 per cent to GH˘482 million while net income rose to GH˘13.1 million in 2011 from GH˘9.3 million the previous year. Mrs Essuah-Mensah said cost rose sharply during the period, mainly due to staff cost after rationalisation of jobs in line with industry practice and acquisition of a new operating system.