Glitz, Pomp As New Bank Opens

The evening was certainly a compelling amalgam of the rich, the famous, the beautiful and the successful.

They came in a jovial and excited mood, all eagerly waiting for the unveiling of yet another new bank on the Ugandan market. The Kampala Serena hotel’s Victoria room had been beautifully decorated for the occasion as Guaranty Trust (GT) bank prepared to make its presence felt.

The guests, among whom was the Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Mutebile, were welcomed by the melodious sound of a minimalistic Milege band. The band had been downsized to four instrumentalists: the bassist, acoustic guitarist, percussionist on djembe and a female vocalist. However, the purely acoustic ‘meal’ was worth every bite.

They were such a talented lot that multitasked, singing as well as playing the instruments. This was fittingly accompanied by the attractive dance displays provided by a group of dancers assembled specifically for this event. These guys put up a definitely unforgettable highlight of the night when they used the Ankole cow horns to deliver a well-choreographed dance, which officially ushered the bank onto the podium.

GT Bank is a Nigerian bank, which recently expanded its footprints in East Africa by buying off Fina bank.According to Group Managing Director Segun Agbaje, the bank secured regulatory approvals from Nigeria and the three East African countries Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, to acquire a 70 per cent stake in Fina bank group at a total cash consideration of more than $100m (about Shs 250bn) effected through a combination of capital injection and acquisition from Fina bank shareholders.

Headquartered in Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria, GT Bank started in 1990 as a Nigerian bank with 44 shareholders. In 1996, it listed on the Nigerian stoke exchange, before becoming more than a Nigerian bank. It expanded to other West African countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone before moving to the United Kingdom where it listed on the London stock exchange market in 2007.

The bank, which, according to Agbaje, has been the most profitable bank in Nigeria since 2009, presently has an asset base of more than two trillion naira, shareholders funds of more than 200 billion naira and employs more than 12,000 people.

In moving to East Africa, Agbaje says they cautiously chose to go for a partnership with a fairly small bank that would make it easy for them to easily penetrate the market

With its headquarters in Nairobi, Fina bank has been in East Africa for the last 20 years. With about 35,000 customers across East Africa, of which 4,000 are in Uganda, the bank entered the Ugandan market five years ago.

Governor Tumusiime-Mutebile assured Ugandans that GT Bank was a “stable, dependable bank with good capital base. Depositors should not fear their money is safe.”

“If GT Bank [wants to] expand its market share, it must be able to carve out its niche and be able to offer a service that customers can’t get from its competitors,” he added.

Source : The Observer

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