Amenfiman Rural Bank has initiated an internal system to equip employees with requisite skills to replace retiring staff.
The bank's CEO, Dr Alexander Asmah, says it is requisite for businesses to consciously build the capacity of its employees.
At the graduation of the first batch of beneficiaries in Tarkwa, he said the initiative is a novelty to the rural banking industry.
”We did this program as a strategic move to create a pipeline for succession, we are looking into a future that we can have people that we have groomed and inculcated our own culture into them and provide them with the capability to take the business into the future so we don’t have a situation where we would have to fill higher roles from outside and then we can groom people from within to take up.”
Under his leadership, personnel undergo a two-year training called Amenfiman Talent Academy Programme (A-TaP).
Applicants are taken through a series of assessments, and successful candidates go through a rigorous, ready-for-the job training module.
They are imbued with the right skills set and attitudes, to help the bank take on the emerging challenges facing the banking industry.
It is part of the bank’s effort to become a net exporter of human resource in rural banking.
Eighteen out of 28 people who accessed the two-year program that started in 2016 qualified for selection and graduated in various skills.
They were given coaches and mentors during the period of training as well as the opportunity to intern in some of the organizations within the industry.
They graduated with the following rewards: Associate-Amenfiman TDP – Talent Development Program, Associate-Amenfiman EMDP-Emerging Management Development Program and Associate-Amenfiman ADP-Advanced Development Program.
Certificates were handed the participants for going through the program successfully during the graduation durbar in Tarkwa.
Task to talent
Board Chairman of the bank, Dr Tony Aubynn, revealed the participants were given three tasks to execute key things which they have delivered appropriately. There are as follows:
1. Improve deposit mobilization: According to him, the chart or graph of the bank’s deposit mobilization has assumed a significantly positive trend in deposit between when they were selected and now that they are graduated.
2. Introduce new approaches to recoveries: “We are also seeing new approaches to recoveries. Though, we are not very much there yet but we see a trend which is positive,” Dr Aubynn observes.
3. Bring new innovative products: It is observed that during the period new products like ‘Gye Wo Akyede3’ among others was introduced to whip up interest of customers to do business with the bank.
“Those who started, almost all of them have gone through some level of promotions. The talent training program fired up and hastened their promotion. Our board members are convinced and happy that the program has benefited the bank already.”
Benefits of the module
The objective is to train and grow an in-house pool of talent who can serve as a valuable human resource capital base to propel the bank to the next phase of its growth agenda.
According to management, the success of this initiative will culminate into improved performance of the organization and reflect financially.
“When we are able to do that, we are going to have improved performance of the organization and achieve our vision of becoming the best and leading bank in the whole of the country,” Dr Asmah said.
He continued that, “when we improve our performance, financially it’s going to reflect on our shareholders, employees, the business and everybody will benefit from it.”
For the individual trainees, the initiative is a commitment to equip them to be competitive not only in the rural banking industry but in the financial services industry as well.
“We are not looking at the situation where we will celebrate one of our colleagues who will take a higher responsibility in any of the banks and be able to lead that organization and take that organization to another level," Dr Asmah added. "We are not looking at a way if somebody leaves here we are losing, we are looking at a way if somebody leaves here, he becomes a positive addition to the industry.
Managing director of ARB Apex Bank, Kojo Mattah encouraged other member banks to emulate Amenfiman Rural Bank’s initiative.
“I also extol the Board and Management of Amenfiman Rural Bank for introducing this novel talent management strategy and wish to recommend this laudable initiative to sister RCBs because I see this as a more cost effective strategy to growing our local banks.”
Mr Mattah observes today’s customer is more sophisticated because of easy access to information.
He however indicates that, “it doesn’t matter the technology available, it takes human beings to serve the customers, the technology is just making our work easier but we need the right human resource to be able to serve our customers better.”
According to him, it is therefore important that rural and community banks embrace what Amenfiman has started and step up customer service training for all their employees so that we can have quality human resource in our banks.
“The customers are the ones who pay our salaries and other benefits. Let’s therefore strive to do whatever it is within our capacity to delight the customers so they can use positive words of mouth to draw more customers to the banking halls.”
A bigger network
There are 141 rural and community banks in the country with over 700 branches and more than 5 million customers.
Mr Mattah reiterated the importance of belonging to the largest network of bank branches in the country.
“May I therefore implore those banks which have left our core banking platform as well as those contemplating exiting the platform to reconsider their decisions.”