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Business News of Friday, 31 October 2014

Source: B&FT Online

First Capital Plus makes giant strides in five years

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As First Capital Plus (FCP) Bank celebrates its fifth (5th) anniversary today, we take a look at the key milestones within the last five years of this growing indigenous bank.

First Capital Plus (FCP) Bank was established on the 29th of October, 2009 as a savings and loans company. In August 2013, the company received its Universal Banking License from the Bank of Ghana to become the 27th Licensed Universal Bank.

The bank has chalked massive successes, and it is the first indigenous company to make the transition from a Savings and Loans to a Universal Bank in record time of three and half years.

John Kofi Mensah, the Chief Executive Officer of First Capital Plus, said prior to taking off as a Universal Bank, FCP had deployed systems and structures to make the transition seamless.

“In 2011, we developed a strategy with the theme; “Growing in Leaps and Bounds” with the focus of achieving universal banking status. We were the market leaders in the Savings and Loans industry so our benchmarking was done against players in the universal banking industry as a result we were strategically and tactically prepared for take-off.”

The Ghana Banking Report (2014) by Price Waterhouse Coopers indicate that First Capital Plus Bank is the market leader amongst 4th Quartile Banks for the year 2013 with 1.4% of the share of industry operating Assets, 1.1% share of industry deposits, 1.3% of share of industry advances, 21.4% share of Profit before Tax Margin and 36.5% share of loan portfolio profitability making it the loan profitability portfolio the 2nd highest in the entire banking industry.

Prior to achieving Universal Banking status it was the largest Savings and Loans company and ranked by the Ghana Club 100 (GC100) as the 10th best performing company for the year 2012, the best in the Non-Bank Financial Institutions sector and the 3rd fastest growing company. First Capital Plus Bank is the first company to make it possible for customers to deposit cash into their banking accounts anytime, anywhere, any day, through their mobile phones through its SpeedBanking solution.

In February this year the bank also made history when it became the first bank to sponsor the Ghana Premier League with a $10m sponsorship. The sponsorship which is ranked as the 3rd best sponsorship deal in Africa came at a time the league has been without a sponsor for half a season.

However, things have not always been rosy. Mr. Mensah notes that “apart from meeting capital requirements, the Bank of Ghana has stringent regulatory and operational requirements as such there was the need to ensure full compliance. Meeting these stringent requirements required detailed efforts but in terms of operational integration the transition was seamless since we had invested substantially in our systems and structures with hindsight of the strategic intent of becoming a universal bank within the shortest possible time.”

In line with the Bank’s vision of becoming the leading provider of banking solutions in Africa, FCP is poised to have an international market presence within five years, a move some analysts have indicated may have been one of the reasons the bank sponsored the Ghana Premier League to give the brand the needed leverage on the international market.

FCP Bank has ambitious growth targets, and it aims to grow exponentially into a top 5 bank in five years. Whilst analysts believe this is an overly ambitious target, FCP Bank believes that its experiences of operating within the largely informal sector have given it the needed tenacity to achieve that goal.

“Whilst others may perceive our growth trajectory to be ambitious we believe that our experiences, innovative customer-focused strategies, life-time client partnerships and our cardinal value of being ‘God-Centered’ propel us to achieve uncommon feats,” Mr. Mensah said.

“In the next five years FCP will deploy branchless banking technologies and also leverage on its innovative SpeedBanking Solution to introduce more revolutionary e-banking solutions. The bank also hopes to pursue concentric diversification strategies that will see the development of a subsidiary to operate within the non-bank financial services market.

In five years our strategic focus is to hyper accelerate into a world class bank, and we know that irrespective of the intensity of competition we will achieve our goals.”

The bank’s key competitive advantage is based on its deep-seated customer-orientation and “relevant” innovation focused on providing highly innovative, simple and customer-focused solutions that can impact society.

“We focus on understanding the customer’s financial needs and developing solutions unique to those needs. This is evident in the deployment of the innovative Speedbanking solution, an SMS-based solution that makes it possible for customers to deposit cash into their bank accounts, anytime, anywhere, any day, through their mobile phones with a Speedbanking scratch card.

In general our product and service capabilities are focused on providing solutions for the SME sector, and other institutions focused on achieving social goals. Our SME focused solutions include; Working Capital Financing, Trade Financing, Import Financing, Fixed Asset Financing, Next Day loans for emergency business needs as well as the development of Capital Sports Credit for Sporting organizations, Capital Church Credit for Religious organizations, EduPlus for Educational institutions amongst others.”

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