First Ghana Savings rolls out medium-term strategy
The First Ghana Savings and Loans (FGSL) Limited, which transformed itself from a building society about six years ago, has started the implementation of a three-year strategic plan to position the company as one of the largest in the sub-sector.
The strategy which starts this year is premised on information and communications technology (ICT) optimisation, human capital management, customer service, as well as image building and rebranding.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company, Dr John Kwaku Asamoah, made this known at the fifth annual general meeting (AGM) of the company in Accra.
The company held a joint AGM for 2016 and 2017 because it did not have a board until October last year.
The National Investment Bank (NIB) holds the controlling interest in the savings and loans company and, therefore, the constitution of its board had to be sanctioned by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Dr Asamoah, who is also the Managing Director of NIB, said the board, management and staff of the company were focused on building a robust business to deliver value to its shareholders.
He said First Ghana was the only savings and loans company that still operated a manual system and it was, therefore, the aim of the board to push for the computerisation project which had started to be completed by the end of the year.
In anticipation of recapitalising the company in future, FGSL has started cleaning its books of some legacy non-performing loans (NPLs), writing off impairment losses of GH¢772,321 for last year and GH¢248,288 for 2016.
The board chairman explained that 2017 would have been a positive year for the company but it made additional impairment charges to clear the way for future expansion and profitability for the company.
“Directors agreed to make provision for the mortgage loans which have been on our books for a long time.
This is in line with a Bank of Ghana request and also to clean our books in anticipation of an impending increment in minimum capital requirement for savings and loans companies,” Dr Asamoah told the shareholders.
The company recorded a net loss of GH¢290,000 last year, as against a net loss of GH¢300,000 recorded the previous year.
Although its deposit base increased from GH¢21.63 million in 2016 to GH¢25.27 million last year, loans and advances increased only marginally from GH¢7.93 million in 2016 to GH¢8.33 million in 2017, mainly due to the inability of the company to constitute a board in time to approve loans.
In spite of some impairments write-offs, the company’s NPLs ratio was still high at 41 per cent, although down from the 46 per cent for the previous year.
“Our capital adequacy is still strong, at almost 40 per cent and that must give our shareholders some comfort,” Dr Asamoah stated.
He said the new strategic plan which focused on human capital would place a lot of emphasis on training and retraining to change staff focus and orientation from the building society concept to a savings and loans firm.