Management of Republic Bank is seeking to boost trade between Ghana and countries within the Caribbean region.
This is due to reports that both imports and exports between Ghana and the Caribbean is actually very low as compared to Ghana’s trade with Europe and America.
Trinidad and Tobago-owned Republic Financial Holdings, the leading and most profitable bank in the Caribbean acquired 57 percent shares in HFC Bank in 2015, after a mandatory takeover sanctioned by the Ghana Stock Exchange.
HFC has therefore changed its logo and name to Republic Bank to reflect the brand of its major shareholder.
In an interview with Goldstreet Business after the rebranding exercise, President of Republic Bank Holdings, Nigel Batiste said the rebranding is a signal of their support to the Ghanaian economy adding that Ghana and the Caribbean share a common history, hence the need for strengthening their cooperation.
“The connection of having Republic Bank in Trinidad, Ghana and Guyana or Cuba will link people from Ghana to other countries. So Ghanaian businesses who are interested in importing to these places can easily do so because of the link. Now you have people in the Caribbean who can provide you with the advice needed in doing business there and that is the fundamental reason behind the name change.”
He narrated an experience he says also necessitated the change of name from HFC to Republic Bank “Last year we had a session when we brought in businesses from Ghana, Guyana and Barbados and one of the overwhelming thing that came out from the session was lack of knowledge. The Ghanaian businesses didn’t know that there was a bank in the region that will facilitate transactions for them, despite our explanation that Republic Bank is affiliated to HFC back home.”
Meanwhile Republic Bank made a profit of GHS45. 43million in 2017, after making losses for two years.
The bank has also received approval from its shareholders to increase its capital to GHS255 million.
Board Chairman of the bank Charles Zwennes says the increment has become necessary for the bank to meet its regulatory requirement of GHS400 million by December 2018.
He also appealed to Ghanaian businesses to take advantage of the opportunity Republic Bank has created to enter the Caribbean market.
“People can now use Republic bank to send goods to the Caribbean region or remit money easily. This is effectively building a banking high way, which businesses can use to stretch their products beyond the country’s shores to boost South-South cooperation and trade as opposed to North-South trade. This is the most strident and definite step of a South-South trade.”
Republic Bank is promising better services, more products and staff development.
Charles Zwennes, Board Chair of Republic Bank,(M) with other board members at the bank’s AGM.
By Nana Oye Ankrah