Let’s face it, Absa Bank has got it right. The Bank’s business in Ghana is based on a very simple strategy, which includes a strong focus on supporting the local SME sector. The bank is sentient enough to know that these local businesses underpin Ghana’s economic growth, so it has laid out a clear strategy to become the bank of choice for the sector.
The strategy is working well and has contributed to making Absa a consistently high performing bank in Ghana. Last year, for example, the bank also became the first in the history of Ghana’s banking sector, to cross the GHS1 billion mark in profitability and revenues in the country.
Absa’s unique understanding of the needs of the SME market has led to several innovative products and solutions for this specific sector. One such innovation is the bank’s collateral-free loan which has flourished consistently for many years. Through a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Absa has increased the facility grant up to GHS1 million for small businesses and startups in Ghana.
Absa also understands that to speedily drive large and positive change, it must strike strategic partnerships as it has done with the Mastercard Foundation and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA. The bank is, therefore, currently a leading partner of the Ghana government’s new entrepreneurial initiative – YouStart commercial programme – which is supported by the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB). The YouStart programme will mobilise GHS10 billion to support young entrepreneurs, startups and local businesses in a sustainable way. These businesses can access standardized loans between GHS100,000 to GHS500,000 from the participating financial institutions, including Absa bank, at subsidized interest rates.
For Absa, this is the latest addition to its suite of products and services that support and empower the local business sector to grow sustainably.
Commenting after the signing ceremony of YouStart at the Ministry of Finance, Managing Director of Absa Bank, Abena Osei-Poku said:
“The purpose of a bank like ours is to identify the real and present problems confronting our clients, customers and society, and to creatively devise plans to respond to these difficulties with the right products and services. That is the ultimate business of banks, and we will not renege on our mandate to ensure our clients and customers find us useful and responsive all the time. We are always excited about our role in empowering the local economy. We feel a great sense of accomplishment when we see how SMEs, startups and other local businesses are making an impact because of our support.”
Absa Bank is not about to rest on its laurels as it seeks to maintain its leadership in a sector that is central to moving the country into a higher middle-income level. Programmes like YouStart, the Mastercard foundation partnership and other related initiatives, are reasons why the bank has struck a strong chord with its key stakeholders, clients and customers. It reflects the bank’s brand promise of bringing possibilities to life.