Bayport financial Services has merged with its sister-company CFC Savings and Loans, to become Bayport Savings and Loans Limited, following approval from the Bank of Ghana.
The merger and granting of the certificate allows Bayport Savings and Loans to operate as a Special Deposits-Taking Institution to carry on the business of savings and loans.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the merger, Mr Kofi Adu-Mensah, Managing Director of Bayport Savings and Loans Limited said the merger put the companies, who have the same majority shareholder, Bayport Management Limited of Mauritius, in a better position to better serve their customers.
He said the two companies had been competing against each other by offering largely similar products to the same target market, thus the need to merge.
The merger, he noted, would also allow the company to offer more products and services beyond its traditional payroll loan products.
Mr Adu-Mensah, dispelled notions that the merger was necessitated by bad performance of either company, saying Bayport was a reputable company with strong financial standing; having been able to list a medium term note of GHC78.5million on the Ghana Stock Exchange’s Alternative Market, as part of a GHC200million programme.
“It was the single largest corporate bond ever listed on the GSE. Subsequent to that, we have successfully issued further bonds to exhaust the entire programme of GHC200 million,” he stated, adding that the merger also gave it a better standing to list bonds
again in the future.
He also stated that the move to merge was taken and initiated far ahead of the announcement of new capital requirements by the Bank of Ghana.
Current loan agreements and other contracts would remain as they were and customers would incur no costs during the process to migrate onto a single system.
They would also enjoy a free transaction bank account called the ‘Bayport My Money Account’ with no costs for transactions including cash withdrawals from third party ATMs.
Mr Adu-Mensah also noted that the new entity would continue to cater for the needs of the informal sector customers, with a focus on the use of technology in their service delivery.
“We assure you that we will maintain and seek to better our delivery speed, convenience and quality of service that our cherished customers have enjoyed over the past 15 years,” he said.
Mr Kwame Pianim, Chairman of the Board of Bayport Savings and Loans, said the merger had brought the company to a new beginning, full of hope and promise, but added however that it also gave the company an increased responsibility, as it would henceforth be working with depositors’ money.
“However, this merger poses some challenges such as new credit risks which will emerge as collection becomes difficult due to the unreliable database against which the identity of people can be validated in the country,” he stated, adding that the company was investing in its risk control mechanisms to ensure that depositors’ finances were secured and protected.
He also acknowledged that the merger came, not only with benefits but also with challenges. He said the challenges included streamlining operations of the merged companies, the need to deploy operational software to improve productivity and minimise risk, training staff and up-scaling skills and braches to Savings and Loans standards.
“All the above are expensive in the short run and we expect our profitability level to fall and even run into a couple of years losses, even as our payroll business continues its dynamic high performance and we maintain our dominant market share of over 40 percent in the payroll business,” he said.
He stressed the need for management of the new Bayport Savings and Loans Limited, to pay attention to happenings in the local industry with also thinking globally.