UT Bank: Setting Up and Growing a Company for SMEs, the Informal Sector and People at the Bottom of the Pyramid


UT began as a non-banking financial institute established by Prince Kofi Amoabeng and his business partner, Joseph Nsonamoah in 1997. Amoabeng set up the then Unique Trust Financial Services after coming to the realization that the traditional banks were not willing to extend facilities to the informal sector in Ghana. These traditional banks had requirements that were so stringent that the informal sector was simply unable to meet them. Participants in the informal sector were also unable to forecast their own financial needs and had no knowledge about financial planning. This meant that most times they were taken unawares by pressing financial needs that could lead to the collapse of their businesses. Because the informal sector could not access funds from the traditional banks, they resorted to borrowing in the informal markets at exorbitant rates. Amoabeng saw the opportunity to serve the SME and informal sector after several attempts to obtain funds for people through his consultancy service had failed and he had eventually lost his job. He was later to become responsible for matching people with surplus funds to those with deficits; eventually, the idea for Unique Trust was conceived and began to take shape at the central business district of Accra, following market research conducted by Amoabeng. Unique Trust Financial Services later became UT Financial Services, and in June 2010, UT acquired BPI Bank and became UT Bank. This case takes a look at the stages in the formation of Unique Trust, from the conception of the idea to serve the informal and unbanked in the population to the acquisition of a bank by UT. The case discusses the challenges faced in the process and how these challenges were overcome by Amoabeng, who saw himself more as an entrepreneur than a banker. This case provides a good example of how to develop a new market segment to satisfy the needs of a certain part of the population, particularly people at the bottom of the pyramid. The case also discusses the challenges a company might face in acquiring another company and how some of these challenges can be surmounted. This case is useful for sessions at the master’s and postgraduate level that relate to entrepreneurship, innovation, business strategy, and international business. It can be used for EMBA and MBA programs and executive management development programs that relate to entrepreneurship.


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Published by:China Europe International Business School

Publish Date:2011-01-01


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