Business News of Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Source: Samuel Dowuona/Adom News/Ghana

First Capital Plus to offer mobile phone banking

Beginning this month, customers who subscribe to the mobile banking services of First Capital Plus would start receiving periodic reports of their accounts status on their mobile phones.

Director of Media and Communications at First Capital Plus, a fully Ghanaian-owned non-banking financial institution told Adom News the new service was to make it more convenient for their numerous mobile banking customers to follow their account status on their phones anytime anywhere.

“We have over 300 mobile banking staff who go round mobilizing funds in the form of ‘susu’ from petty traders and several other customers, but these customers usually have to walk all the way to our offices to check the status of their account,” he said.

He said with the new service, which is due to be launched later this year, customers would receive a report on the status of their account immediately their accounts are credit with their daily, week or monthly ‘susu’ contribution. Mr. Antoh said through the efficiency of the mobile banking staff, FCP was able to meet their funds mobilization targets in the 2009/2010 financial years, adding “we believe the new mobile phone service will help us mobilize and give out at least GHC3 million this year in loans.”

He also noted that FCP was passionate about having a competitive urge, saying contrary to the normal practice where banks charge Cost of Transfer (COT) on current accounts and sometimes even on saving accounts, FCP does not charge COT but rather gives interest on current accounts.

This makes First Capital Plus the first and only financial institution in Ghana that pays interest on current accounts even though there are a few banks which do not charge COT on current accounts.

“We give interest on current account because we understand that many Ghanaians work hard for their money but prefer current accounts to savings because of the urgent need for money for business and personal effects,” he said. He said the interest on current accounts vary between corporate and personal accounts.

“Corporate current accounts with a balance of GHC2,000 and above attract five per cent interest whiles personal current account with an GHC1,000 balance and above attract three per cent interest per annum,” he said.

Mr. Antoh said FCP also gives eight per cent interest per annum on savings account, adding that they have even better packages on the fix deposit accounts and other special accounts.

He noted that the company deals with large scale and lots of very small scale businesses like table top traders so they usually tailor-make collateral for loans to suit every category of customer.

“We try to be flexible on collateral so even the petty traders can get loans from us, and we also allow businesses to negotiate interests on loans down in some special cases,” he said.

He said FCP also does some corporate social responsibility activities in the form of annual blood donation, presentations to needy organizations and their annual free worship concert, adding “last year we spent about GHC40,000 on CSR.” Mr. Antoh also told Adom News that on approval from the Bank of Ghana, this year FCP will open four more branches in Osu, Dansoman, Koforidua and Takoradi in addition to their six branches in Tesano, Kumasi, Ashaiman, Makola, Accra Newtown and Kasoa.

First Capital Plus is a fully-Ghanaian-owned non-banking financial institution that employs 35 full-time professional staff, and over 300 part-time mobile banking staff serving more than 2,000.