Accra (Greater Accra) 24 October 2002 – The Ghana International Bank (GIB) on Thursday morning launched its new product- Internet Banking in Accra. Initially, the service will be available for its Corporate customers including Ghanaian banks, government agencies, parastatals and business customers.
Brian Hagger, Managing Director of the London-based bank explained that, “Ghana International Bank’s overriding business priority is to support the economy of Ghana where we concentrate on promoting exports, with a growing emphasis on non-traditional trade, through advice and a range of financing products. The bank has an impressive portfolio of substantial Ghanaian business. Providing our customers with a totally secure and highly cost efficient channel of communication is a crucial element of our approach. The introduction of Internet Banking is a vital ingredient to achieve our core strategic objective of becoming Ghana’s International and Correspondent Bank of first choice.”
GIB made the initial decision to invest in Internet Banking during the early part of 2001. “We involved all our departments in the debate” Brian Hagger explained “and our managers worked isolated off-site for several days to design the specification of the product.”
“We fervently believe that our Internet Banking product for the business market in Ghana sets us apart from the competition” he continued. “In fact for most customers the only banking function not available to them will be the ability to print off dollar bills!”
Joe Mensah General Manager of GIB explained: “We were determined that, in launching Internet Banking, our customers will be able to undertake most of their banking activities with us from their own offices without having to send documents and authorisations through the post. Our customers will have a totally secure banking delivery system, which will enable them to allocate unique bespoke privileges to individual members of their team, giving some users perhaps, the sole ability to obtain account information whilst others will be permitted to be involved in giving transaction instructions to the bank.
Explaining this in greater detail, he continued: “Customers who want it can opt to involve three levels of officials in giving instructions. Furthermore, the system will provide an indelible audit trail for absolutely every transaction”.
Joe Mensah outlined that, “customers accessing Internet Banking will have the ability to see not only last night’s balances but also today’s entries and a projected balance of each of their accounts for tonight. Further up to three month’s statement information will be available in a form that can be downloaded simply into a spreadsheet or into most standard accounting software packages”.
Brian Hagger, Managing Director proudly confirms that GIB’s Internet Banking proposition contains not only the functionality that is typically available from major banks in London, New York and Frankfurt but other more sophisticated features. “For example,” he says, “customers would expect Internet Banking to give the ability to transfer funds between accounts but we will be giving them the ability to make worldwide third-party payments in all major hard currencies as well as the ability to open and amend Letters of Credit. All these functions are highly attractive to companies engaged in international trade. We’ve spoken to our major customers about our plans and they are all very excited by it”.
Joe Mensah picked up the theme, “not only will our customers be able to give us instructions, they will also be able to get up to date status reports on specific Letter of Credits or on individual Documentary Collections, information that is so important to an international trader”. He assured:
“We realise that in the early days some customers may need a lot of hand-holding and qualified and trained staff will be on hand to assist both in Accra and at the end of a telephone in London.”
Brian Hagger is confident that the introduction of Internet Banking will be seen in years to come as the most important step forward made by the bank since it was established in 1998 “it confirms our commitment to support and promote the economy of Ghana, and I believe this will be quickly recognised by Corporates in Ghana engaged in international trade whether they bank with us or not”
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