The final countdown has begun! The 13th edition of the Ghana Banking Awards has been launched.
As the unrivalled badge of excellence for the competitive banking market, the Ghana Banking Awards are the most hotly contested awards in the Ghanaian banking industry.
Organised by Corporate Initiative Ghana, a not-for-profit entity, the 13th Ghana Banking Awards welcome the partnership of the Graphic Communications Group Limited to the fold.
Since 2001, CiG has organized the Ghana Banking Awards with the aim of identifying and rewarding excellence in the universal banking sector of the industry.
The Competitive Environment
That the banking sector in Ghana today faces stiff competition is not in doubt. Working with a general definition of a bank as ‘… a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and grants loans to same under a regulated structure …’ we can identify 584 Bank Financial Institutions (BFIs) under four sub-sectors, according to a recent research study released by the Osei Tutu II Centre for Executive Education & Research in Kumasi.
The Universal Banks sub-sector consists of 28 BFIs, the Rural Banks sub-sector has 137 BFIs, the Savings & Loans sub-sector has 25 BFIs, while the Microfinance sub-sector has 394 BFIs, thus bringing the total number of bank financial institutions in Ghana to 584… and still counting.
The Ghana Banking awards presently concentrates on the Universal Banks sub-sector. The time frame for the Awards cover all universal banks with published financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2013. Out of the current number of 28 universal banks, 26 qualify for the Awards. Hereafter all references to banks will represent the Universal Banks sub-sector.
The theme for the 13th Awards is ‘Identifying and Rewarding Excellence in the Banking Services Proposition’, to reflect the expectations of this competitive market. In this market only the ‘best’ will suffice. Best in how customers are treated and served, best in how services are priced and indeed best in the entire banking proposition.
The Approach & Methodology
The Awards are based on both quantitative and qualitative data obtained from the banks.
Under Section 81 of the Banking Act 2004 – Act 673, a bank is mandated, not later than three months after the end of its financial year (December), to cause the financial statements together with the auditors’ report to be published in a daily newspaper circulating in Ghana suffice to add that a bank which fails to comply with this section is liable to pay to the Bank of Ghana a fine not exceeding 1,000 penalty units.
The Banking Act therefore provides an avenue to assemble a rich set of quantitative data on the banks. The quantitative statistics are supplemented with qualitative surveys of both the banks and their customers. A research entity is then engaged to undertake surveys of both the banks and their customers for qualitative data.
The Approach and Methodology process for the Awards are scrutinised and agreed upon by the Technical Committee which consists of representatives of the banks.
The assurance for both data analyses – quantitative and qualitative – is provided by a Big-Four auditing firm, Ernst & Young, who bring their globally acclaimed reputation to bear positively on the integrity of the process.
The Award Categories
The fifteen award categories identified and agreed upon are:
1. Customer Care
2. Advisory Services
3. Trade Finance
4. Trade Deal of the Year
5. Long Term Loan Finance
6. Household Finance
7. Enterprise Finance
8. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
9. Product Innovation
10. Competitive Pricing
11. Corporate Social Responsibility
12. The Most Active E-zwich Bank*
13. Financial Performance
14. Bank Growth
15. Bank of the Year
(*The E-zwich Award, which is non-scoring was brought in at the instance of GHiPSS. As a non-scoroing award it has no effect on the scoring assigned to other categories, especially those that have effect on the Bank of the Year Award)
Consumer finance and Consumer lending are merged under Household Finance. Similarly, IT and Electronic Banking is replaced by Product Innovation. The banking sector has witnessed tremendous changes over the last 10 years hence IT/Electronic Banking is now the norm rather than a choice banks have to make. This infrastructure is a basic requirement for banking hence awarding for basics do not engender a sense of competition. Emphasis is now on significant product innovation with the view of reducing cost of banking business and convenience to bank customers.
Award for Short and Medium term loans finance have also been replaced by long term loan finance. The Balance Sheet structure of banks traditionally permits short and medium term finance, however long term finance for both the household and enterprise sectors is what we lack as a country. A bank needs to be recognised and awarded if it is able to use its balance sheet to finance long term projects.
Corporate Bank of the year is also replaced by Enterprise Bank of the year. The emphasis should be on credit to enterprises and this has been the view of the regulator hence the Annual Percentage Rates and Average Deposits Interest rates which are verifiable and are collected from banks and published to engender competition and transparency.
Available data does not support the assertion that Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) should be excluded from Agricultural financing award. ADB is included in the competition for this award and hard data with respect to actual allocation of credit is accessed to ascertain banks support to this critical sector of the economy.
New advances made to the sector in the year will accompany the citation for this award. The sector needs the support of the banks. We therefore use sectoral credit allocations of banks to enable us ascertain actual credit made to the sector by each bank.
Competitive Pricing Award is also supported by hard data (APRs and ADI) which are verifiable by all.
To underscore the independence of the Awards process, no universal bank is allowed to provide sponsorship in any form. Instead, non-universal banks and corporate entities offer sponsorship. The Ghana Banking Awards is one of the most noted and spectacular events in the industry’s calendar, attracting leading figures from across the Ghana banking community.
As the largest event of its kind the awards offer unrivalled branding and sponsorship opportunities including profiling through advertising and editorial coverage in the event brochure and at the glittering award ceremony itself.
The Awards night comes in August 2014.
Source: Corporate Initiative Ghana