Global Trust Bank, one of the latest entrants to Uganda’s banking sector, has completed its transition into a fully fledged commercial bank but with the focus on corporate clients.
The transition was intended to reposition the bank in the fiercely competitive market, focus on retail, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and regional banking platforms.
The bank, a product of the acquisition by Industrial and General Insurance of Nigeria in 2008 of a former micro lending institution Commercial Microfinance, will base its core services on mobile and Internet service infrastructure.
Global Trust is targeting a small niche segment of corporate retail clients that can be absorbed on a lean operating platform that is compatible with ordinary mobile and Internet services to counter telecommunication firms that are currently engaged in money transfer services.
“Many of our custom-made services, such as foreign exchange services, utility payments and standing orders, will be transferred onto the new mobile and Internet service platform. This will help in minimising costs of operation while increasing efficiency for our clients,” said Richard Byarugaba, the managing director.
Through the use of mobile phone and Internet service delivery platforms that can be accessed by clients outside its premises, the bank expects to reduce turnaround times for its clients.
It is hoped this strategy will win over a chunk of the market that was previously the domain of money transfer services Moneygram and Western Union.
The introduction of MTN’s Mobile Money and Zain’s Zap cash transfer service has heightened competition in the sector.
In addition, faster clearing processes for credit cards and loan facilities have been designed such that applicants are expected to access the two products in less than 24 hours compared with an average of three days among the market’s older players.
According to Mr Byarugaba, the corporate retail strategy will enable the bank to absorb an estimated 200,000 clients, a figure that he believes can be served effectively without degrading the bank’s quality of service and competitiveness.
A recent reduction in branch network is expected to yield savings on structural costs for Global Trust Bank, which currently operates less than 20 branches.