Ato Afful (right), MD, GCGL, holding discussions with Benjamin Dzoboku (left), MD of Republic Bank, during the meeting.  With them are some members of the Graphic delegation and officials of the bank. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Ato Afful (right), MD, GCGL, holding discussions with Benjamin Dzoboku (left), MD of Republic Bank, during the meeting. With them are some members of the Graphic delegation and officials of the bank. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

Republic Bank Africa sets up hub in Accra

The parent company of Republic Bank Ghana is poised to establish its regional headquarters in Ghana to oversee its expansion to other parts of Africa.

Leveraging its Ghana operations, Republic Financial Holdings Limited, a Caribbean financial institution headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, has started putting in place the necessary processes to ensure that the new entity is founded on a solid footing for it to become sustainable.

Expected to operate under the franchise The Republic Africa, it will enable the financial institution to deepen its footprints and reach out to the over 1.3 billion consumers in Africa.

Working visit

This came to light when the management of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), led by its Managing Director (MD), Ato Afful, paid a courtesy call on the MD of Republic Bank Ghana, Benjamin Dzoboku, in Accra last Wednesday.

The meeting was meant to deepen business relations and complement each other in their activities.

It was to further build on the relationship between the bank and the media house, discuss areas of collaboration and introduce the new Editor, Graphic, Theophilus Yartey, who has oversight responsibility for the Daily Graphic, its sister brands as well as the news department.

Among the delegation, was the Director, Marketing and Sales, Franklin Sowa.

The MD of Republic Bank Ghana received the delegation in the company of the Manager in charge of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Genevieve Aboney.

Signed agreement

Mr Dzoboku stated that an agreement for the establishment of the headquarters had already been signed in 2015.

“The plan is to build a holding company in Ghana, which will be called Republic Africa, with a presence in the region and it will serve as the headquarters in Africa,” he said.

“We want to set the platform and secure the human resource before we can start to acquire or set operations in other African countries because when we start, we will need to send people there and if the human resource is not ready, it will be difficult,” he added.

Mr Dzoboku explained that Ghana was chosen to host the headquarters of the Holding Company based on its stable political environment.

He said plans were far advanced for the bank to establish its operations in one of the countries within the southern African sub-region this year.

“The President of the Group in Trinidad and Tobago will join us to visit the country in question by the end of this month (August) as part of measures to conduct feasibility studies,” the MD of Republic Bank disclosed.

“We selected that country because the economic fundamentals and political climate are good for business, now what is left is for us to see and experience the friendliness of the environment and other business opportunities,” Mr Dzoboku added.

Market share

With a history dating back to 180 years ago, Mr Dzoboku stated that the parent company of Republic Bank was committed to creating additional value for its customers and clients in Africa.

He said Republic Financial Holdings so far had over 40 per cent of the market share with a total asset of $17.1 billion.

“So, it is a big bank, which is making a profit of over $398 million as of last year and this year about $400 million,” Mr Dzoboku said.

The MD of Republic Bank said after the bank took over the then-HFC Bank, it decentralised the mortgage portfolio and as a result, the market share was lost.

“So, we were not doing mortgage for a while, we were just doing commercial banking and personal loans.

When I took over as the MD, my first strategy was to go back to base and we set out a team purposely for the mortgage business and we are now doing well in the market,” Mr Dzoboku said.

Let’s deepen relationship

Mr Afful noted that the Graphic Group was committed to the already established business relationship between the two parties.

“Our mission is, first of all, to congratulate you on assuming the MD position of the bank and introduce the new Editor, Graphic and secondly to deepen and build stronger relationships which will be beneficial to both parties,” he said.

Mr Afful maintained that the GCGL had over 70 years of history and for that reason was not interested in publishing negativity, but rather focused on building strong credibility and relationship for mutual benefits.

He added that the Graphic Group would prefer that its partners, which include the Republic Bank, were part of the day-to-day activities of its operations in the country.

Mr Afful said the GCGL was also able to assist Republic Bank in its brand-building processes, while it availed its printing and packaging business, G-PAK, at the disposal of its partners for all printing, branding, packaging and marketing communication materials to increase their brand visibilities.

He also spoke about the digitisation of the 70-year archival news and information of Graphic since 1950, which would be of valuable importance to all segments of society.

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