By Dorcas Omotayo
As I explore the banking industry in Nigeria, more striking are the giant strides of GTBank which has evolved from “that bank” to “the bank” everyone would rather bank with. In retrospect, I remember walking with swag into the bank as a student for safe keep of my pocket money in the early 2000s. At the time, being a customer of the bank was the real deal as its offerings appealed to most students and millennials.
Having pioneered the zero-naira account in the country, GTBank has long been regarded as one of Africa’s outstanding brands and over the years enjoyed a large youth following which is attributed to its innovative and forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement. As of the time this article is being written, GTBank has a following of 1.6M on Twitter and 713,000 on Instagram. Also, the effortlessness involved in banking and the continuous introduction of new service offerings and upgrade of existing ones have been the major attraction for new and existing customers to GTBank.
Beyond its offerings, a major attraction to the bank is the brand color, logo and slogan. The exuberant, friendly, fun, vibrant colors which elicit feelings of vitality and trust, has been instrumental in keeping the bank at the top of its customers mind and building the brand identity. The Orange and White Color choice gives GTBanks’ logo depth by forging a visual connection to the company’s values and personality.
However, another unique feature of the bank is the bespoke architectural designs across its over 200 branches in Nigeria. Proving to be a trendsetter, the bank has created diverse designs and structures to suit different locations and customers’ taste. It is a known fact that no two GTBank branches have similar designs and this interestingly have become part of its branding. I must say, it is a delight to observe the architectural blueprint of the bank.
With the rise of online platforms and the increasing demand for entertaining content, GTBank set the pace in 2012 with the launch of NdaniTV after which other banks followed suit. NdaniTV has retained its spot as Africa’s premier online platform, with hit shows and series like – Skinny Girl In Transit (SGIT), Gidi Up, The Juice, Frank Donga’s “The Interview”, 37 Questions, African Dream, Phases and TGIF Show. The platform currently has 342,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Other channels for unleashing creativity are the GTBank Food & Drink Festival and GTBank Fashion Weekend. The annual food exhibition and sales event is a foremost culinary event in Africa and the biggest culinary experience in Africa, usually it brings together thousands of food afficionados from across the continent to support and celebrate Nigeria’s food industry and retail sector. Added to the highlights, are the masterclasses facilitated by food and drink experts from around the world.
Meanwhile, the GTBank Fashion Weekend is a consumer-focused fair and free business platform designed to showcase the best of Africa’s Fashion to a global audience whilst promoting the effervescent enterprise of the continents growing fashion industry. The event also includes the Fashion Masterclasses that provide fashion entrepreneurs the unique opportunity to learn from global industry leaders and experienced brands.
Furthermore, in terms of corporate governance, the bank has strict adherence to the values of professionalism, quality service delivery and internationally accepted corporate governance standards, which have enabled the bank create an oasis in the African banking industry. Over the years, the bank has been assigned the best credit rating by both local and international rating agencies, which further attest its adherence to international best practices and standards.
Among the outstanding feats of the bank is robust procedures in place for employees to report concerns, issues or potential violation of laws. “Our overarching goal for GTBank is to provide a productive and pleasant working environment driven by mutual respect. Apart from a well-established whistle blowing procedure that ensures anonymity – that includes two hotlines and a dedicated email address – the bank has an open-door policy to encourage staff to discuss issues at all levels with superior officers, including the managing director, without the fear of being repudiated. There is therefore a conducive environment for staff to freely express their views or concerns on any issue including a violation or potential violation of laws.” The Chief Executive Officer, Segun Agbaje disclosed in an interview.
Also, with the aim of contributing to sustainable societal goals by engaging in ethically-oriented practices, GTBank has launched a number of initiatives that would fund dozens of innovative ideas designed and executed by members of the public. GTBank passion is driven by the developmental challenges in its communities which now guides the banks’ strategic response in the area of education, arts, environment and community development.
Notwithstanding, in the face of the current economic disruption and also in the past, GTBank has partnered other banks and industries in funding entrepreneurs in Nigeria’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector. It is to be recalled that in 2019, the bank partnered with the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) to disburse N25billion funding to entrepreneurs. The funding, which is the single largest disbursement by the DBN to any financial institution in Nigeria since it commenced operations, is also in line with GTBank’s long-term commitment to growing small businesses.
In addition to the banks’ intervention during this challenging time is the suspension of its loan repayment plan for all Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have obtained credit facilities from the bank. Over and above that, the bank contributed a 100-bed intensive care centre towards addressing the health hazards caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Nigeria.
GTBank proving to be a dynamic organization, has reviewed its business model to accommodate and leverage on technological advancement. GTBank appears to be ahead in the fight against technological disruptors with platforms such as GTPay which is competing in the payment system, GTCollections is also competing in the Aggregator’s market. GTMoney Transfer in IMTOs, GTBank Habari in the e-commerce and entertainment space as well. Apart from the WhatsApp Business Solution offered to Nigerians as an additional channel to connect with the Bank, GTBank was also the first financial institution in Nigeria to set up a fully interactive contact center in 2006 and has, since then, led the finance sector in driving customer interaction across online and social media platforms.
Finally, being the first financial institution in the country to commence the board appraisal, GTBank has performed exceptionally in terms of its risk management strategy, stakeholder engagement and managing regulatory risk. Built on solid public, government and internal relations, GTBank has garnered several awards in recognition of its key role, impact and excellency in the financial industry. The most recent of accolades awarded to the bank is the Euromoney awards for excellence. Without a doubt, GTBank is devoted to staying above the tide.