Interview with Ms. Christiana Ekaete Olaoye, Managing Director/CEO of Energy Bank Ghana Limited

  • March 11, 2017

DEVELOPING LIVES DEVELOPING HUMANITY. Overview: Energy Bank Ghana Limited was incorporated in 2009 as a private limited liability company. It began full scale banking operations on February 22, 2011 after acquiring a class 1 universal banking license. The bank which has its corporate head office located at the GNAT Heights on the Independence Avenue in Accra believes that banking is all about creating satisfaction for its stakeholders, contributing to the growth of the national economy and affecting on the larger society by being a partner in the development process. Mission: Mission is conservatively growing arithmetically to affect the world in the hands of three people-customers, employees and shareholders-committed in equal opportunity for the development of Ghana’s economy, humanity and to the glory of God. Our team member spoke to Christiana Ekaete Olaoye, the Managing Director/CEO of Energy Bank Ghana Limited. She answered all the questions, driven by enthusiasm. Here are some of the important questions answered by her:
What is your vision for Energy Bank?
The vision of Energy Bank is to build a strong bank based on the timeless principles of loyalty and customer service. To this end, we have adopted a simple and flexible organisation design and structure to get things right, measure what is important and reward the right results among others. Our core values are courage, love and perception. At Energy Bank, we believe banking is all about creating satisfaction for stakeholders, contributing to the growth of the national economy and impacting on the larger society by being a partner in development. I have been here in Ghana for less than a year but I must say I’m inspired to deliver results for the bank, shareholders and the Ghanaian banking community. My style is to motivate, rejuvenate and guide the team towards the attainment of our corporate and personal goals. Together we will build a more customer friendly bank, a compelling and attractive e-banking services and financial solutions that facilitate wealth creation for all. I bring on board over 30 years of post-qualification banking experience spanning various banking organizations in Nigeria and overseas, and I believe my experience will impact significantly on my team and deliver results.
What do you make of the Energy Bank brand?
The Energy Bank brand has not been too strong. In this regard, we are in the process of rebranding the bank to deepen our retail banking business with a promise to deliver superior value-laden services using technology and creating more brand affinity. Our ambition is to create a brand that connects our targets prospects emotionally; motivates the consumer and also build strong brand equity. Let me add that we have adopted a consistent, strategic branding approach that will deliver results for our brand.
What has been the track record of the bank since its inception in 2011?
I must say that the bank has been fairly successful since it began operations in the country in February 2011. We have been increasing profitability and balance sheet growth though we believe we can improve more and do better. However, our strength largely lies in treasury and international trade where we have a strong investment and a well-structured trade finance departments. We are re-positioning our corporate and commercial banking departments in order to take up more opportunities in the Ghanaian economy whilst supporting businesses to build compelling and lasting empires.
How did Energy Bank fare in 2016…..were you satisfied with your performance?
2016 was relatively a good year for us though we wish we could have gotten better results. In terms of satisfaction I will say to some extent I’m pleased, but we could have done better. The Ghanaian economy was quite difficult and that to some extent had some impact on our business. Nonetheless, we were able to achieve and exceed some of our targets. I wish I could share some of the results but we are awaiting the final audited account before publishing it. However, I can say that our balance sheet size remains strong; we exceeded our deposit target whilst we made modest gain in our bottom-line.
What drove your growth during the year under review?
There were various strategies that facilitated our growth last year; the bank’s performance in 2016 was largely based on increase in loans and advances, resulting in higher interest income. Our good cost management policy also helped to control costs.
Did you meet your targets for 2016?
I think I have answered this question already; but let me recap by saying that we are yet to publish the financial statement because it has to be approved by the Bank of Ghana. However, we were able to meet some of our targets in a difficult economic environment; Customer deposits went up, loans and advances also shot up, interest income particularly from loans also increased.
What targets have you set for this year?
In life you must always dream big and have the ‘can do spirit’ that everything is possible. We have set some realistic targets and we believe we will achieve all of them. We are hoping to achieve all our targets i.e. balance sheet size, profitability etc. We expect to grow our customer base significantly, thereby increasing our deposits considerably not forgetting our asset size. A key area we anticipate to grow our bottom line from, is non-funded income transactions; we plan organising quarterly trade finance seminars for our clients in order to educate them about the requirements as well as our unique selling propositions. Overall, we anticipate to grow the bank significantly.
In the next five years, where do you expect to see Energy Bank?
The vision of the bank is to grow a strong bank based on the timeless principles of customer loyalty and technology. We have designed a policy to make the bank very customer friendly that will attract many people to undertake banking transactions with Energy Bank; that is why we are tweaking our brand to connect our targets prospects emotionally motivates the consumer and also build strong brand equity. We want to see a bank that is a top tier player, a bank that inspires and motivates its staff and ultimately a bank that makes flexible transactions with consumers and makes them happy. We know it is a challenging task but we believe we can execute the task with ease.
What is your expectation from the new government regarding the financial sector?
Well, first and foremost we want to see a stable macroeconomic environment that will enable us plan well, operate efficiently and effectively and eventually get better results. We believe the economic fundamentals will improve this year. We are inspired by the new President’s dream of building a ‘new Ghana’ and we believe that the financial sector policy makers and regulators will introduce policies that will immensely support the growth of financial sector players.
What is your take on mobile money business in the country; do you see as a threat to the banking sector?
Banking has evolved into a more sophisticated technology-backed products and services. I must say that mobile money business is rather complementing financial intermediation and making banking very easy accessible by the unbanked and under-banked segment of the population. In Ghana, mobile money grew by 118 percent in 2016 and so you can appreciate the enormous potential. As a bank we have already partnered all the telecom gaints; MTN, Vodafone, Tigo and Airtel to provide mobile money services for their clients. We have taken advantage to sign on consumers who use our platform to send or received money. What we intend doing next and soon is create an application that will enable customers send or withdraw money from their mobile money accounts to their Energy Bank accounts and vice versa. Let me add that we are very committed to delivery technology enhanced products and services. We are, therefore, currently working on technology-enabled products and services that will be instrumental to our goal of improving financial inclusion throughout Ghana.
What is your view about India and Africa/ Ghana relation in connection with the Ghana financial sector.
Trade is an integral part of a country’s economy, and therefore foreign trade is a key driver for the economic development and growth of any country. Over the years, India and Ghana/Africa have deepened their bilateral economic relations, especially in the area of trade, and this is evident in the steady growth of trade volumes between India and Ghana as well as India and Africa. As a Bank, we are totally consumed with creating satisfaction for stakeholders, and, at the same time, contributing to the growth of the national economy by being a partner in the economic development process. We have, therefore, put in place effective and efficient trade finance services and products, as well as processes and procedures that will enhance and facilitate trade transactions between Ghanaian businesses and their Indian counterparts. Energy Bank’s selling points are quick turn-around time, excellent service and flexibility, deep understanding and knowledge of trade finance products and services as well as strong correspondent banking relationships and trade lines.

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