Premium Bank says it will leverage on its unique expertise in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector to stay ahead of the competition in the banking industry.
Known formerly as City Investments Company Limited (CIC), the finance house got the regulatory approval from the Bank of Ghana to begin operations as a bank in the second quarter of 2016.
Speaking at media interaction, Mrs Jacqueline Benyah, Deputy Managing Director Premium Bank said the about 20 years experience in meeting the needs of the small businesses would come in handy as the bank begins its operations.
She said because lending to the SME sector was a core business operation of CIC at the time, it provided the opportunity to understand their businesses better and their cash flows, among others.
“You can’t assist them from a distance. You have to be actively involved in their business, so that you know what they sell, you know what they buy, how much they make, you go to their offices, if they’re buying something, they want to set out their accounts, you are involved with them,” She said.
Mrs Benyah said the bank would begin an aggressive expansion programme next year with a roll-out of about eight more branches in Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tarkwa.
“We have three rights here in Accra: Ridge and Makola. We are looking at Tema. There is a place in Takoradi already. Kumasi is on board, two places actually in Kumasi. There’s also Tarkwa in the pipeline. So by close of year next year, we should have eight more branches,” she said.
Mrs Benyah said the bank had deliberately chosen those SME hotspots to be able to better serve the markets.
She lauded the business acumen of the operators in the SME sector, saying they understand their businesses than anyone else but needed to be guided in order to provide the required information.
The Head of Finance and Strategy, Ms Ellen Aboah, said the SME businesses were not the major focus of the big banks, but this was the core business of our operations and gave us the opportunity to understand the sector better.
“So when you’re lending to them, you look at their cash flows, their needs, the turnaround time for processes, then you structure your products to suit them,” she said.
Ms Aboah said Premium Bank would concentrate on what it knows to do best and extend the services they need to them.
“It’s not a question of taking a backseat to them. It’s a question of being with them every step of the way and helping them in any way you can. Otherwise, there’s certainly no way we would have been here for 20 years.”
“So we’re just extending to them the services they need. We are also not going too far out of our comfort zone. That’s what we know, that’s what the people here have been doing,” she added.