Walking into the premium bank premises, one is overwhelmed by its serene ambiance. One cannot help but notice the team’s zest for the bank’s vision. Aimed at being the SME Bank of Choice in Ghana, they are leaving no stones unturned as they focus on building deep relationships with Small and Medium businesses.
Known formerly as City Investment Company Ltd, the finance house got the regulatory approval from the Bank of Ghana to begin operations as a bank in second quarter of 2016.
It is no longer news that SMEs contribute over 55 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), over 65 percent of total employment in high-income countries and the economic growth of emerging markets.
Unfortunately, accessing capital continues to be a huge challenge for SMEs in the country; this challenge worsened during the global economic crisis of the past decade as more banks became cautious about assessing risk.
Premium bank’s entry into the banking space promises a change in the- access to capital – challenge; considering the organizations experience in the industry as a finance house where lending to SMEs was a core business.
More so, having operated for two decades as a finance house, has not only positioned them to lend to other institutions, enterprises and provide general business support to entrepreneurs in the market, it has given them a better understanding of small and medium sized business, their cash flows , challenges and day to day running of affairs
In a chat with the Managing Director, Kwasi Tumi on the progress made since they began operations as a licensed bank, he tells Instinct Business that their existing customers have welcomed the change and are being served in a better capacity “We began talking to them long before the transition, and they have welcomed the change, operating as a bank enables us to offer more services to our customers.”
When asked if the stiff competition in the industry is a source of concern to him he said “Premium Bank will leverage on its unique expertise in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector to stay ahead of the competition in the banking industry.” This is not surprising, as SMEs are not a major focus of the big players in the industry.
However product offering is a key factor in the success of any bank, most especially in a saturated industry like ours. Thankfully, the newest kid on the block does not fall short of this, as the bank caters for all classes of society.
Low Minimum Deposits
At Premium Bank, there is a product for everyone regardless of their financial status. Both members of the formal and informal sectors can own accounts suited to them. The bank’s flexible product features allows for very low minimum deposits to match customer’s capability.
Digitally Enhanced Solutions
Technologically advanced solutions are provided to make banking experience more convenient and easy. Self-serviced ATMs enable branchless banking; Secured Cash and Cheque Deposits, Loan Applications, Real time Digital Video Support for enquiries using the ATM screen.
In order to give the best value to clients, a relationship based approach is used to provide innovative solutions tailored to the specific needs of clients.
“Our Customers are at the core of our business and we strive hard to be their first point of call, it’s for that reason we invite you to join us.” Mr. Tumi emphasized.
Building a Vibrant Community of SMEs
To further deepen the SME sector penetration, premium bank is building a vibrant community of SMEs and providing them with the requisite business support, advisory services, adequate financing and coaching. This they have dubbed the SME Network; a non-profit initiative of Premium Bank in partnership with The African Network of Entrepreneurs (TANOE)
The SME Network is the one-stop destination for the provision of Innovative & Tailor-Made Business Growth Solutions to challenges of Small & Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
The SME Network Benefits
The SME Network has a mission of equipping and supporting 10,000 SMEs & Entrepreneurs in their quest to build and grow businesses that can compete on the global market. Membership holds numerous benefits ,including but not limited to ; Funding – Debt & Equity Financing, Capacity Building – Training, Consulting & Coaching, Exposure – Branding, Marketing & Publicity Support, Global Market Access, Resources – Business & Personal Development, Network Building – Productive Networking & Partnership Building, Knowledge Exchange – Mentorship, Seminars & Workshops, Financial Literacy – Book & Record keeping, Banking, Investments, Insurance & Taxation, Business Growth – Business Planning, HR Support, Structure Building, Leadership Growth
All hands are on deck to push the brand to become a tier two bank in the nearest future, still maintaining its focus on SMEs.
Meanwhile, there will be an aggressive expansion programme that wills a roll-out eight more branches in Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tarkwa before close of 2017. Moreover, innovative products will be introduced to meet the changing needs of consumers.
Currently, the bank operates three banking branches: Ridge, Makola and the head office in Osu. It comprises of a strong work force employees, selected with a mixture of high academic qualifications, experience, professionalism and young, budding talents with the hunger and desire to work
Small scale business owners are certainly in for a jolly ride as business expansion becomes the order of the day.