GN Bank/Savings completed the six-month transition from universal bank to Savings and loans at the end of June, under the supervision of the Bank of Ghana. Products and services have been changed and a lot of restructuring has happened to ensure concentration on financial inclusion and strengthening the field operations. Some of the problems encountered last year have been solved. Others are being addressed. For example, workers’ salaries that were locked up have been released throughout the country. Selected branches are back to delivering remittance/money transfer services successfully.
We have introduced a concept we call LRB (Local/Regional Banking) using a Community Banking approach to make sure we work closely with the communities in which we are located. With this, new deposits made can be withdrawn without any restrictions. This has attracted old and new customers to actively transact business with us through new deposits. This new system is working and many individuals and companies who run national operations are transferring funds successfully from one town/region to another. One Community generated GHS2.2 million of new deposits in July. In many towns, we remain the only licensed financial institution to serve the needs of the people.
For the rest of the year, our attention will be on raising funds to unlock customer funds from “old deposits” (deposits made prior to this year). Our national retail footprint has enabled the company to find credible potential partners who when cleared by the Bank of Ghana, will invest new money. Existing shareholders have also pledged to put in new money to provide liquidity by the end of the year. Our consistent interactions with our loan customers is yielding positive results. What we collect is sent to our branches to meet customer needs.
I am confident that the revival of this business will continue. On 31 December 2018, this is what I shared publicly. Many people did not pay much attention to it. Here it is again:
“The Shareholders and Directors of GN Bank wish to inform our cherished customers and the general public that we have elected to continue our operations as a Savings & Loans Institution. This means that our doors will remain open for business as usual come January, 2019. We have officially informed the Bank of Ghana and started the transition process.
This means that customer funds remain safe with us and leaves us to concentrate on ensuring maximum liquidity instead of raising funds for additional capital. We operated successfully as First National before, so we can assure our customers that with our attention back to managing the business instead of combing the world for additional capital, we are poised to deliver products and services beyond excellence.
It is important for us to note that one primary reason for this is the fact that millions of Government Infrastructure Project debt assigned to GN Bank have remained locked up. When government begins paying back these funds, GN Bank will be a highly liquid financial institution…We began this journey in 1997 to create a national bank for all Ghanaians wherever they may live, capable of ensuring financial inclusion and bringing the unbanked into the formal sector. We have been honest about who we are – a Main Street Bank and not a High Street Bank.
It took the promoter, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom and the shareholder, Coconut Grove Beach Resort, nine years to obtain a license from the Bank of Ghana on May 8, 2006 to operate as a Savings and Loan Company under the brand name, First National Savings & Loans Company Limited. In 2006, Coconut Grove was joined by another Ghanaian shareholder, BB Acquisitions. GN Bank has two intertwined branches – traditional banking and Micro-Enterprise business. The power of the two makes our bank unique and special. It has taken hard work to be where we are, with 1.2 million customers and 10% of the retail outlets in banking at 300 locations.
From the very beginning, Our Vision has been, “To be a truly National Bank for the Ordinary person namely; Farmers, Professionals, Students, Workers, and Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs in Ghana.”
We have invested to go where other banks are not willing to go, to bring banking to people currently excluded from the formal banking system throughout the country.”