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Business News of Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Source: Graphic Online

First National to get banking license

First National Savings and Loans Company is expected to receive its universal banking license from the Bank of Ghana by the close of the first quarter of the year.

The Chief Executive Officer of First National, Mr Patrick Anumel, who disclosed this to the Graphic Business in Accra, said the “the bank of Ghana has conducted its necessary checks with us and as far as we are concerned, we have satisfied all the requirements”.

Mr Anumel said this when the company signed a US$2 million convertible loan with Goodwill Investments Limited of the Netherlands to help boost its operations in the country.

When granted, the First National will be the 27th bank in the country.

Mr Anumel said First National was already entrenched on the ground with about 50 branches spread across the length and breadth of the country.

In terms of the minimum capital requirement to set up a bank in the country, he said First National was ready to meet it to enable it start operation as soon as we are given the green light”.

Asked about how the company could survive in a highly competitive banking environment in the country, he said “we have used customer service to beat competition where we are now and we will leverage that experience to capture a respectable market share”.

He said the company would also leverage its wide branch network across the country because many of its competitors do not have such spread.

Early on, Mr Anumel who signed the loan agreement on behalf of his company, said the loan would help boost the performance of the company.

“This loan will helps us to lend more to the micro, small and medium enterprises in the country which are in dire need of funds to expand their businesses or start new ones”, he said.

Mr Anumel said the company has a model which uses the ‘SUSU’ principles and makes it easy for the people to repay their loans.

Mr Anumel said the present customer base of the company currrently stands about 650,000 and expressed the hope that it would be able to hit its one million customer target by the close of 2015.

He said the receipt of the loan also demonstrates the confidence reposed in the company not only from within but also from outside the country.

Madam Els Boehof, a partner at Goodwell who initialed for her company said her company believes in transforming the lives of the poor and vulnerable in society.

“We believe in the vision of First National because it is in line with ours and we are happy to work with them”, she added.

Madam Boehof said the Goodwell was an investment company incorporated in the Netherlands focused on access to finance and sustainable investment.

The Chairman of the board of First National, Mr Charles Cofie, expressed the hope that the loan wil the company to reach many more people in need of funds to do business.

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