The Chief Executive Officer of Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), Mr John Awuah, has said the bank has an elaborate plan to help develop and increase support for small and medium-scale enterprises to enable them to grow.
In this direction, he said, the bank was working on establishing two centres in Accra and Kumasi to facilitate the sustenance of the small and medium businesses.
“But this time next year, we would be talking about two well-established centres, what we are going to call the business banking centres, one in Accra and the other in Kumasi. These centres are going to be predominantly handling transactions of small and medium-scale enterprises,” he said.
Mr Awuah, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the just ended 19th China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen, said once the centres were in place, the UMB’s ability to better serve and provide services to the SME sector would be enhanced.
“Once we set up these centres, they will be filled with people who understand how to work with the SMEs. Most of the time, SMEs need guidance and assistance. You need to work and walk with them,” he said.
“We will have SME practitioners who will not be wearing ties and not look like people from officialdom in the market places. They will work with them, understand their businesses and be able to offer solutions that are appropriate to their business needs,” Mr Awuah added.
On the establishment of a China Desk, Mr Awuah said UMB had a strategy of aggregating customers of similar risk capital stakes to better tailor products to the needs of the customers.
“We have set up a China Desk and the trip to China dovetails into that arrangement. I have been here I have had several meetings, seminars, events and contacts with many business people, who are interested in having joint ventures or having subsidiaries or branches in Ghana,” he said.
He said when Chinese investors arrived in Ghana, they would need to talk to a financial house, not just for facilities but also to enable them to operate their businesses.
“We are just catching them young when they are in the initiation stage or the decision-making stage of moving into Ghana and this trip to China actually fits into that strategy and I am sure in the coming weeks we will begin to realise the benefits of why we decided to follow the trade mission to China,” Mr Awuah said.