Union Saving and Loans, one of the companies in the Jospong Group has earmarked GHC34million to give out as loans this year alone.
The company said it is targeting GHC40million deposits within the same period and it is well on course to achieve that target.
Managing Director of the company, Philip Oti-Mensah told Adom Business its loan portfolio is currently around GHC5million and deposits are around GHC10million, but they have introduced new schemes and planned other measures to reach the targets for the year.
The company, for instance, recently introduced the Union Car Owner Loans, designed to give mainly commercial drivers the opportunity to own brand new and fairly used cars, vans and buses.
The scheme allows applicants to make an initial deposit of 10% of the price of the vehicle and pay the rest over a 5-year period at a base rate of 24% plus negotiable risk charges, which is a better deal than several similar schemes on the market.
“It is important to note that we charge only 3% monthly interest on our loans, and the amount on which we calculate the 3% reduces as you pay keep paying the loan, unlike the other schemes on the market where they charge a flat 4% to 5% per month on the original amount borrowed till you finish paying,” Oti-Mensah explained.
Philip Oti-Mensah said the company also plans branch expansion this year to give it more visibility and make it more accessible to people needing its services, particularly small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
“We are opening six new branches this year along – we already have three branches in Kumasi and one in Accra, but next month (April) we will be opening two news branches at Ashaiman and Takoradi – we will then move our head office to Dzorwulu, then open new branches in Dome, Accra Central, a fourth branch in Kumasi and another in Koforidua,” he said.
“We believe that the second half of the year will be more active and busy and we want to prepare to give our current and prospective customers excellent services when the time comes,” he said.
But beyond the targets and expansions this year, Philip Oti-Mensah said the company has a vision to be one of the top three savings and loans companies in the country by 2015 (in two years), and become a fully fledged bank by 2017 (in four years).
He agrees that is very ambitious but trust that with the kind of staff at Union Savings and Loans, they would even achieve those targets ahead of time.
“We are currently in the bottom five among the saving and loans companies in Ghana, but we have done all the analysis and employed the right human resources well motivated to drive the vision of the company,” he said.
Philip Oti-Mensah said besides competing in the open market focusing on its core target group, which is the SMEs, Union is also paying great attention to the businesses in the Jospong and Zoomlion Groups of Companies, to which it belongs.
The other companies in the group are Zoomlion, Zoil, JA Plantpool, JA Quarry, JA Vehicle Assembly Plant, Jubilee Tractor, Accra Compost Limited, Zoom Angola, Zoom Liberia, Zoom Togo, Zoom Equitorial Guinea, Zoom Sierra Leone, Zoom Zambia and others.
Pundits have said Union Saving and Loans has the luxury of setting ‘over ambitious’ targets because of the huge financial backing from all the successful companies in the two groups on which it can leverage, and take gargantuan risks.
But Philip Oti-Mensah said Union provides banking services to the companies in the group, and to their employees at subsidized rates, and is expected to make profits and pay dividends to shareholders, and also pay benefits to the employees who save with Union.
“We, for instance, give 6% interest rate on savings (which is one of the highest on the market) for persons outside of the Jospong Group, but we give 10% interest rate to employees of companies in the group, and also manage their provident funds, and investments, for which each employee can negotiate their own interest rate,” he said.
Union Savings and Loans has been in operations since 1989 in Kumasi, but moved to Accra in 2007 when the Jospong and Zoomlion Groups acquired it. It now employs some 70 people and working to become a fully-fledged back in the next four years.