Opinion & Analysis

Your Story Matters: The crucial shift towards personalisation and empathy in Ghana’s financial sector

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In the fabric of Ghana’s economic development, the banking sector stands as a cornerstone, shaping the flow of finance and opportunity across our society. However, the true potential of banking lies not in transactions, but in the personal stories of those it serves. At Absa Bank Ghana we have embarked on a transformative journey, encapsulated in our new brand promise, “Your Story Matters”. This evolution is not just a marketing strap line but an organisational commitment to offer a more personalised, empathetic banking experience to our customers.

We see our customers as partners, each with their own unique narrative which has the potential to shape the world. It is a perspective that demands more than just innovative products; it requires a cultural shift within our bank and the industry at large.

For many years, banks have been perceived as unfeeling institutions that default to seeing customers in terms of their risk instead of the potential in their individual stories. This perception has been a barrier to genuine customer engagement. Recognising this, we have been working tirelessly to embed the right culture internally with the aim of changing this view and better seeing and serving the needs of our customers. We engaged thousands of our customers and stakeholders in conversations, resulting in the introduction of a new corporate purpose in early 2023: to ‘Empower Africa’s tomorrow, together, one story at a time’. This paved the way for our bold new brand promise – Your Story Matters. It captures our commitment to a human-centred empathy that builds partnerships and a seamless customer experience.

Digital is at the forefront of making this shift tangible. We have enhanced our digital platforms with innovations that allow customers to withdraw cash from ATMs via a QR code, buy financial instruments through our digital channels, manage their cards, and even onboard themselves digitally. Leveraging digital technologies, we have transformed the way we bank, notably by offering our customers micro loans through their digital wallets in partnership with MTN (Ahomka Loan). We are not just streamlining banking; we are personalising it, ensuring that our services resonate with the individual needs and aspirations of our customers. This digital frontier is where banking meets empathy, enabling us to support our customers’ stories in ways previously unimaginable.

“Your Story Matters” also implies that we are constantly pushing the boundaries of convenience for the benefit of our customers: today, Absa credit card users enjoy up to 55 days of interest-free credit. They can also use our ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ feature, which converts all credit card transactions above GHS 300 into 3 to 12-month instalments. Ultimately, our objective is to deliver an intuitive and seamless customer experience across all our products and services.

Our dedication to empowering personal stories is also illustrated by our support for SMEs and entrepreneurs across various sectors, with a special focus on women, young entrepreneurs in FinTech, and Agribusinesses. In 2023, we lent over GHC 400 million to SMEs. Out of that, over 200 million went to women-led Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as business loans. Through these actions, we champion the cause of gender inclusivity, fostering innovation and sustainable development in critical sectors of our economy.

Through our ReadytoWork initiative and in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, we are strategically deploying resources to help the youth harness their potential and prepare for the myriad opportunities in the evolving world of work. This initiative currently has over 15,000 total learners in Ghana, equipping them with a diverse set of skills tailored for the future, including Blockchain Technologies, Computational Thinking and Digital Literacy.

Sustainability is another critical chapter in our story, reflecting our commitment to uplift and support the quality of life within the communities where we operate. This commitment drives us to look forward and make investments that benefit both today’s customers and future generations as well. By integrating solar power solutions into our ATMs and advancing waste segregation practices in our offices, we are actively managing our own environmental footprint. By the end of 2023, we achieved a 35% reduction in energy usage, reached 15% water savings towards our 30% goal, and supplied about 30.97% of our energy needs through renewables, surpassing our 20% target. In addition to this, our investments in green financing and related sustainability initiatives underscore our dedication to contributing to a sustainable environment. It is a holistic approach to banking, where financial success and environmental stewardship go hand in hand. We can do good business and do good for people and our planet.

As we advocate for this new era of banking, one that values the individual stories of our customers, we invite every Ghanaian to join us. “Your Story Matters” is the embodiment of our vision for the future of banking in Ghana—a future where every customer feels seen, heard, and valued. It is about setting a new standard for what banking can and should be—a sector that not only manages finances but also nurtures the dreams and aspirations of its community.

By Nana Essilfuah Tamakloe, Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Absa Bank Ghana

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