Zenith Bank Gambia limited is poised to eliminate cash handling to its bearest minimum using its vast array of electronic banking products and services while at the same time giving their clients access to their money on demand.
Through strategic deployment of its Information and Communication Technology (lCT) electronic banking products, Zenith Bank is to redefine customer service standards and create diverse service delivery channels.
“We invested a lot of funds in our ICT infrastructure and we have a wide range of electronic banking products riding on our ICT platform,” said Emeka Anyaegbuna, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank (Gambia) Limited, in his first media interview since his bank commenced operations in The Gambia one year seven months ago.
“In Nigeria alone we have over 600 staff working in the IT department; software, hardware, products development etc and these IT platform has been deployed to the subsidiaries including The Gambia.”
Zenith Bank leading edge in ITC makes it amply positioned to provide Gambians with international banking services through its e-banking products.
“Our e-business products are numerous,” he said, enumerating some of the e-banking products of Zenith Bank which includes Zenith Xpath product, Zenith Alert, Electronic reconciliation tool, and Zenith payroll amongst others.
“Zenith Xpath product is designed to capture up to 20 fields or entries and allows corporate clients the convenience of viewing all lodgements into Zenith Bank online real-time,” he said, giving detailed explanation of some the bank’s products.
He said the Zenith Alert zee is a detailed electronic notification tool for all lodgements, withdrawals, transfers and so on, and will show the bank balances after each transaction. The customers are notified either via SMS or e-mail or both at no cost.
The Electronic Reconciliation tool is another exiting tool of Zenith Bank, MD Anyaegbuna said. It automatically reconciles balances in customer’s ledger book against the corresponding balance on their bank statement as “manual reconciliation is a sheer waste of time”.
“Our reconciliation tool eliminates time wastages, improves efficiency of reconciliation and reduces errors associated with manual intervention,” he remarked.
Another very useful e-product is the Zenith payroll. Emeka said this is an electronic solution for timely and effective payment of salaries and allowances. “What is required is for the clients to send their salary payment schedule in a Zenith designated format and payments will be effected within minutes irrespective of the number of employees,” he said.
“There are a wide range of other products, including other traditional products like savings account, current account, fixed deposit account, etc,” Zenith MD said. Adding: “Interestingly, most of our e-business products are user friendly and deployed to our customers at no cost.”
The African Business [Magazine] has recently rated Zenith Bank Plc in Nigeria, the parent company of Zenith Bank Gambia Limited, as the biggest bank in West Africa.
The managing director of the subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc in the Gambia said this is a clear manifestation of the confidence that corporate and individual customers have in the bank. He described Zenith Bank as an “upwardly mobile bank and professionally run”.
In the Gambia, we are just about a year and seven months and we want to replicate the success that Zenith Bank Plc has recorded over the years, Mr Anyaegbuna said.
From inception, Zenith Bank Group have recorded exceptionally outstanding results year on year in all indices of financial measurement.
Asked about the strategies his bank will employed to attain success he offered this analysis: “In music, just as the symphony conductor directs the orchestra to bring the magic of the music, every Chief Executive must have strategic trade secrets to achieve success. Clearly, there is no serious minded institution operating in competitive environment that will let out its trade secrets to the public.
“Notwithstanding, our strategy is to eliminate cash handling to its bearest minimum using electronic banking platforms. There are several strategic initiatives in Information Technology which will have a positive impact on our business cycle dynamics as well as our customers businesses.”
He said Zenith Bank’s business and operational strategies are geared towards exceeding the customer service expectations of all their customers. “We are desirous of contributing meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the country.”
Are 13 banks too many considering the size of the economy?
Commenting on the number of banks in the country, he opined that the existence of 13 banks in The Gambia is a positive development for the economy.
He said: “Clearly, The President, H.E. Shiekh Prof. Alhagi Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh deserves commendation for opening the doors of the country for foreign investments. The Central Bank of the Gambia also deserve to be applauded for licencing the existing banks.
“The presence of all the banks in the country is a boost to the economy of the country. It has added to the GDP growth, provided employment for Gambians, created competition which invariably has led to innovation and ease of banking operations and created a stable financial system.”
He said banks play developmental roles in every economy and the entrance of many banks, in the Gambia, have created more stable funding with diversified credit portfolio as well as the efficiency brought by new technologies.
Zenith Bank MD said his bank and other banks in the country are willing to fund viable projects and industries through syndications. According to him any investor who is well informed on the African and World ratings of some of the banks in the Gambia would not need further questions to invest in the Gambia.
Even though he admitted that competition in the banking industry is stiff, he explained that the banking terrain in the country provides a lot for all the banks. “It is a known fact that competition brings out the best in us. The total liability base in the financial sector is well over GMD11 billion which is considered reasonable taking cognizance of the banking population and I am not in doubt that the figures will increase significantly in the coming years,” he posited.
Build confidence in the Gambia
Mr Anyaegbuna has this to say about The Gambia: “There are few countries in Africa where there is good governance. Incidentally, the Gambia is one. This has given us a lot of confidence to operate in the country. The Gambia is clearly the most peaceful country in Africa.
“People operate their businesses unmolested or harassed. Gambians are very hospitable, humble and accommodating. The high and the mighty are down to earth people. Within a short time we have made good progress and I want to thank the Gambians and the business community in the Gambia for the confidence reposed in us.”