Ghana’s biggest bank, Ecobank Ghana has been touting its achievements since beginning banking business some 30 plus years ago as then a merchant bank.
The first quartile bank which is now the most profitable in the banking industry is attributing its sterling performance through enhanced work culture, right governance principles and adherence to its vision and mission status, among others.
Executive Director of Ecobank Ghana, Dr. Edward Botchway said “as you have rightly said we begun in a small bungalow, here at Ridge [Accra] and to where we are currently; I think it speaks to the commitment and efforts of various generations of ‘Ecobankers’ and that in a span of roughly 30 years, we’ve been able to move from the smallest bank in Ghana to become the biggest bank in Ghana.”
In his view, the right culture, innovation, adhering to corporate governance principles, innovation and offering customer centric services, among many others has driven the bank’s growth over the years.
“I think the quality of the workforce that we’ve hard, I think the work culture within Ecobank, I think the fact that we put the customer first, I think the fact that we’ve been very strong in innovation and asking ourselves how do we improve daily. I think all of that have come together to do so good to our quest to become a formidable and leading bank”.
“I must say that along the journey we’ve had support from various stakeholders; from the Bank of Ghana, from the Securities and Exchange Commission, from the Ghana Stock Exchange and from all others. I think that has been very helpful in getting us where we are today”, he further said.
He pointed out that the question now is how Ecobank can improve and build on the solid foundation laid, noting “how do we continue to meet our customer needs, and that needs is what drives us in daily basis.”
Ecobank model of customer satisfaction has catapulted it to the apex
The bank attributed the model of getting to the apex of banking in the country to customer satisfaction.
Dr. Botchwey explained that “I think in the house, that drive to excel has always been extremely strong and we continue to aspire to the various targets that we want to achieve.”
“The model comes down to focusing on meeting customer needs, so you will find out that our customers are spread across all the sectors of the Ghanaian economy, across various angles, from microfinance to big corporate clients; and to be able to address and to meet the different needs of this different customer base I think that for me has been the key factor in driving the bank to where it is now”, he said.
“At the heart of that has been innovation that we have continue to put across. I think those for me has been the key factors that has brought Ecobank to where it is now”, he added.
Ecobank’s financial soundness indicators robust
The financial soundness indicators of Ecobank Ghanaian including Capital Adequacy Ratio, liquidity and profitability has been impressive, a situation that has kept the stability of the bank all this while.
“I think that the point that you make about the soundness of our balance sheet clearly also speaks to the work we’ve done across board. So if you take any of the indicators; capital adequacy ratio, liquidity and profitability and all of that I think our numbers speak for themselves. And the corporate governance structure that we have in place is to ensure that we continue to keep these levels, I think that really is important in ensuring that we at the levels that we are now, Dr. Botchway said.
He further noted that “I think the history of banking shows clearly that to be at the top or to continue to excel, that extra effort and that focus on compliance and addressing the risk issues and all of that is needed”, adding that the adequate corporate governance structure has been key to its success, and the bank is therefore looking forward to a brighter future in the coming months.
Competition has been good to Ecobank
The Executive Director described competition in the banking industry as good for the bank’s growth.
“I think competition is something that one cannot hide from. I mean if you want to excel you need to show that you can compete, and over our history of 30 years, I think we’ve had various banks come to the fore. You had banks with government support and showed how strong they can be, and as you rightly said you had some other banks coming into the Ghanaian banking space, you’ve had telecom firms, you’ve had fintechs, you’ve had all of them offering banking solutions. You need to compete.”
“I think for us forging the appropriate partnerships and ensuring that we are as efficient as we can be, I think that has stood us well. And you will find us that we’ve got very good partnerships with several players within the industry, I think we’ve shown from our numbers that in spite of covid-19 we are able to find ways to grow, in spite of competition we are able to find ways to grow, in spite of various constraints we are able to find ways to grow”, Dr. Botchwey noted.
“I think at the end of the day, once you get your model right, once you get your focus right, once you get your culture right, once you get your governance right, once you get the way forward and how you are going to address the market, I think that makes room for you within the market space”, he added.
Ecobank started operations in February 1990, as a merchant bank operating from a single branch. It later acquired a universal banking license in 2003.
It subsequently got listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange in 2006, and it’s one of the most attractive stocks on the market today.
The bank reformulated its business structure by segmenting its markets into three main customer affinity groups of; Corporate Banking, Commercial Banking and Consumer Banking. This was done to enable Ecobank provide tailored solutions to customers in a timely and efficient manner.
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