Business News of 2013-12-10

First Capital Plus to drive rural banking

First Capital Plus Bank (FCP), the latest entrant into Ghana’s banking industry, is set to extend its services to the rural areas as part of its expansion drive.

The Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr John Kofi Mensah, told GRAPHIC BUSINESS that the trend of shying away from rural banks would not be the style of the bank, but instead, it would increase its accessibility in the next few years.

Already, the bank, he said, was using its flagship product dubbed: ‘SpeedBanking’ to exploit opportunities that exist in the rural areas as well as enhance savings. “A combination of technology and physical presence is going to drive our expansion,” he said at a press conference to announce the new status of FCP as a universal bank.

SpeedBanking is an SMS-based deposit solution that enables customers of First Capital Plus to deposit money directly into their bank accounts through a scratch card and their mobile phones, anytime, anywhere thus, saving them the hustle of walking into banking halls to deposit.

He explained that with the advent of technology, the bank would move their services to the doorstep of people and added, “it is implicit that our SpeedBanking system is a vehicle to improve savings.”

Aside the expansion drive, the bank, he said, would continue to focus on the small and medium enterprise (SMEWS) sector as the new banking status would give them the opportunity to offer more tailor-made products to the growing needs of the SMEWS market.

“We pledge to join hands with our colleague banks to help push further Ghana’s banking industry to become one of the enviable setups in the global financial intermediation process.

Driving savings

Mr Mensah reiterated the hustle involved in getting customers to the banking halls, as people feel reluctancy to do so lately. Instead, the bank, he said, per the new status would churn out innovative products to help mobilise more deposits for the company in the coming years.

According to him, although a significant number of people enter the microfinance market for various reasons and it helped to encourage savings, there was the need for proper regulation for the industry.

“While stressing the positive impacts, it is also true that if not properly regulated, they can become an albatross to the banking industry as best practices may be relegated to the background,” he said. The bank has a deposit base of GHC211.11million currently with a total asset base of GHC286.80 million, showing a significant increase over what it recorded in the past years.