How have operations evolved in the last year since your appointment?
Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria's largest banks by tier-1 capital, had been operating for nearly two decades before it entered the Ghanaian market 12 years ago. In the last two to three years, we have experienced consistent and remarkable growth in terms of the major performance indicators. Our bottom line has been growing and the balance sheet has almost doubled. Today, we have become one of the leading banks in Ghana in terms of brand, culture as well as service delivery and product offerings. In terms of capital size, we are one of the top-three largest banks in Ghana. Our financial performance indicators for 2017 grew in leaps and bounds relative to the previous year. We have consolidated our position as one of the top-10 banks in the industry, and are part of a select group of banks that have sufficient capital to meet the Bank of Ghana's new capital requirement of GHS400 million even before the stipulated deadline of December 31, 2018.
What gives you a competitive advantage in Ghana?
Our competitive advantage in Ghana is essentially the hospitality of the people of Ghana; Ghanaians have been receptive of the Zenith brand and have lent great support to the bank's operations. Like many other businesses, we have benefitted and continue to benefit from the government of Ghana's commitment to putting in place the right measures, including the formulation of laws, to create an enabling business environment that will attract FDI and ensure they thrive. The relatively stable power supply has also contributed immensely to a lot of businesses coming into a profit-making position. In addition to expanding our physical presence, Zenith Bank uses a robust technological platform to provide quintessential service delivery to all its customers; we are penetrating the market by using digitization to make it more convenient for our customers to carry out their banking transactions. In this light, we have collaborated with MasterCard, Visa, and other electronic platforms to provide unrivalled products and services to the banking populace in Ghana. We also have a well-integrated mobile money platform and are one of the few banks in Ghana that have bank-to-wallet capabilities on the mobile money platform. Ghana is largely unbanked and the opportunities to attract the unbanked population into the banking sector are massive.
How do you project your corporate client base to evolve in the future and how do you seek to adjust?
Zenith has a strategic purpose in Ghana's corporate environment, where we channel 80% of our energy toward initiatives that give us 80% of our revenues. In the corporate world, we seek solutions to improve confidence, especially for multinationals to increase their market share in Ghana. Ghana is an attractive economy for FDI, and we need to identify new players coming in and provide them with the necessary benefits through our brand and efficient marketing staff.
What is the solution to solve the high rate of non-performing loans (NPL) affecting the industry?
An enhanced corporate governance system and improved risk management practices are requisite for a sound and thriving financial sector. If NPLs are an issue for one bank, this directly or indirectly becomes an issue for the entire system, as we all belong to the same market and have the same customers. We have, unfortunately, not been able to create a system where all customers are identifiable and defaulters punished. There is no platform that makes consumer information readily available. This makes government's efforts to introduce the national ID card system an excellent one. For corporates, everyone needs to find a way to improve their internal control systems. The government has so far made commendable efforts, for example, by raising the energy sector levy accounts to create cash flows, which were on the back of the bonds that were issued.