Banks Lack Novelty - Fifi Kwetey

The Minister of Financial and Allied Institutions at the Presidency, Mr Fifi Kwetey, has blamed the similarity of services and products in the local banking sector to lack of innovation among the banks. Instead of investing to enable them to participate more in bigger deals that would return huge dividends, Mr Kwetey said, most banks preferred to stay at the periphery, engaging in deposit taking and giving of loans. “It’s about the mindset of wanting to get quick returns. Most of the banks are not willing to invest or be innovative. All they want is the easy road to profit and that is deposit taking and loans,” the minister, who is also the NDC Member of Parliament for Ketu South, said in an interview. “If you want the hard way, you must invest and be innovative and that is what most of them shy from,” Mr Kwetey added. He spoke to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS after the inauguration of the head office of Union Savings and Loans Company at Dzorwulu in Accra. The inauguration also coincided with the launch of the Union OmniBanking, a new initiative from the company to bring banking services and products closer to the populace. It involves turning a kiosk-like structure into a banking hall and those structures are expected to be setup across the country, especially within the various markets, the Managing Director of Union, Mr Philip Oti-Mensah, said at the ceremony. While commending Union Savings for the innovation, which he described as a revolution in the banking sector, Hon Kwetey said banks in country needed to think beyond deposits and loans to enable them rip from the emerging prospects. “They need to invest, to be innovative and do things differently,” he said, adding that government was prepared to help them succeed in that regard. Union Savings is one of the oldest savings and loans companies in Ghana, which operates mainly within the Ashanti Region. The company was registered in 1989 under the Company’s code of 1963 (Act 179) as a Savings and Loans Company. In 2006 and 2009, 90 per cent and the remaining 10 per cent of the company was acquired by the Jospong Group of Companies respectively. Following the acquisition, the company's paid in capital has increased steadily above the regulatory requirement of GHC7,000,000. As a savings and loans company, Union Savings operates as a "tier 2" bank. This means that the company offers all banking services including deposits and account management, transaction banking (including e-banking), lending, and advisory banking services. The vision of Union Savings and Loans is to be among the three top savings and loans companies by 2015 and a dominant universal bank by 2017. The mission of the company is "to provide rapid and suitable deposit, transaction, and lending services to individuals and businesses through high quality and satisfied employees, and modern technology. By Maxwell Adombila Akalaare