Posted by Ike Onyema | 23 January 2014 | 3,035 times
Last year, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) launched a new service, GTBank Social Banking, a unique platform that allows people open accounts, make account balance enquiries, perform money transfers, pay bills and purchase airtime on Facebook. This offers customers a channel to get real-time customer service and perform transactions quickly, safely and at their convenience, without a trip to the bank. For peace of mind, the bank has also built in adequate online safeguards to ensure the security of all transactions.
This is yet a new height in banking service technology through which the bank has continued to build banking services around its customers where ever they may be. By offering banking services on Facebook, the bank has come to address the needs of this segment of a vast and rapidly expanding online community.
This is reckoned as a giant step by GTB towards building a bank with a practical global reach. In its drive to make banking services convenient to users, the bank is now moving to dismantle the last obstacles towards borderless banking. With this innovative service, the management of GTBank has raised the stakes for the competition.
GTB’s key strategy in the business is to make its services available to customers at the lowest possible cost to them and to the bank. The bank also targets to provide banking services to the huge number of unbanked people in Nigeria which hovers around 60% of the entire population of over 168 million, as well as, existing customers wherever they are in the world.
On the home front, the bank also has a large retail banking network. This ensures that its service system is brought close to every customer. High service capacity built through integrated banking technology is reinforced by close to 200 branch offices of the bank across the nation. GTB is also noted for short turnaround cycle that permits quick responses to customers’ needs and enquiries. This has enabled it to standardise its services and continuously deliver on promises.
GTBank, for all its innovations and service delivery expertise, has continued to receive positive reviews from stakeholders.
A Lagos-based ex-banker-turned entrepreneur, Emeka, said that “a lot of Nigerians from all walks of life seem to have GTBank accounts especially on the mainland,” adding: “There are times when the volume of traffic in GTBank is 75:3compared to neighbouring bank. That’s 25 is to 1.”
Emeka attributed GTBank’s success in reducing “people clutter” in its banking halls to its increased focus on cashless banking; continuously improving overall customer service delivery experience; greater emphasis on Social Media; and a well-organised team of hard, smart and fast workers
“For instance,” he said, “one of the smartest things the management did which many customers noticed was it moved its customer service delivery unit to the first floor, freeing up enough real estate on the ground floor for people who need to execute teller transactions to do so seamlessly.
“I’d say the average wait time has reduced by over 15 minutes. I breeze in and out of the bank now.”
Emeka said shifting the customer service unit upstairs “was a brilliant stroke of genius” but not the only smart thing the management did. He said that the bank also deployed a special unit to man an in-branch ‘Mobile Money Team’ that continuously helps customers to recognise the benefits of downloading and using the GTBank application on their phones.
In the circumstances, it is only fitting that GTBank is tribute to its high service standards, was awarded the ‘2013 Best Banking Group – Nigeria’ in September 2013 at the Annual World Finance Banking Awards.
The award judges said the award programmes were tailored to provide a comprehensive analysis of the very best in each market; and GTBank scored high marks in innovation and product offering in the financial services industry, regional reach to cover high growth markets, significant proof of continuous development, good Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility.
World Finance mentioned GTBank’s clearly defined customer centric strategy dedicated to improving the client experience, innovative financing solutions tailored to client needs, investments in new technology, and unique industry specialization as important factors in winning this award.
The backbone of the GTBank’s service delivery applications is the high human resource capacity it attracts. The bank is ahead of competition in terms of a lean structure that permits operating efficiency and low cost. It boasts of the lowest operating cost margin in the banking industry. This is an indication of the high level of internal efficiency. Its low cost-income ratio therefore enables it to achieve high profit margins.
GTB also runs on a low risk structure that enables it to achieve operating stability in both good and bad seasons. The low risk reflects essentially on the high risk asset quality and more than adequate provisioning for impaired assets. This means that losses can be sustained in those assets without hurting profit.
The low risk advantage ensures that losses in asset values have no impact on current revenues. Also unanticipated losses are largely shielded from the capital account. The robust cushion for risk explains why the global financial crisis had the least impact on the bank amid the general banking industry shake up.
The bank’s half year audited results for 2013 which were released on the floor of the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges showed gross earnings of over N113.52 billion and Profit Before Tax of N57.36 billion over the period.
GTbank is definitely looking beyond the immediate frontiers of service delivery. The management is committed to its corporate drive to maintain the ‘Bank of the Future’ status, just as the Managing Director/CEO, Segun Agbaje, promised that all its “stakeholders should be better off for partnering with us.”
• Ike Onyema writes from Lagos. Photo shows GTBank MD/CEO, Segun Agbaje.
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