Hard Work Alone Doesn't Guarantee Success
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bond Savings and Loans Limited, Mr George Ofosuhene, did not grow up wanting to become a banker. His childhood aspirations included possibly becoming a doctor, lawyer or pursuing a career in any of the other so-called elite professions.
Banking, in which he now has over 30 years of practical experience, was an afterthought largely inspired by his admiration of a particular banker.
"I was thinking of becoming a doctor but you actually get into school and as you progress, you realise that your capabilities are tilting towards a particular direction. I tilted towards banking in sixth form and the main attraction was a banker I admired who used to dress very well," the Bond CEO reminisced in his maiden appearance on the Springboard, the Virtual University, on Joy FM.
"I actually did not worry much about what bankers did but their appearance just fascinated me," he said, bursting into laughter.
Mr Ofosuhene, who was then schooling at St Peter’s Boys Secondary School in the Eastern Region, said he quickly realigned his aspirations, redefined his mission in life and through commitment and hard work, he has risen to the current stage in his professional career.
One major lesson he learnt along the way was that a person needs to be clear in his/her mind, what he wants to achieve in life or else his toil and sweat could amount to nothing.
"In life, you should have a clear vision and back it by action else you will become like cotton wool, which will be taken anywhere the wind blows it. I came to the realisation that what I cherished as a profession was to become someone who dealt with figures. I clearly defined my goal and pursued it and I think it has been worthwhile," Mr Ofosuhene added.
Three Secrets in Life
The appearance of the CEO of the Bond Savings and Loans on the Virtual University, hosted by Rev. Albert Ocran of Legacy & Legacy, a management consultancy firm in Accra, formed part of a series - the Leaders' Digest - which started on September 7.
The series features renowned leaders, heads of institutions and reputable people in society who share the secrets of their success and distinction in life, their core values and the lessons learnt from their respective areas of operation with listeners.
The sharing of their experiences in life is expected to motivate people and the youth in particular into pursuing their goals and passions in life. As part of the requirements of the show, each guest is often asked what three virtues define his/her professional and personal life.
On the three values that he cherished most, the Bond CEO mentioned trust, dependability and humility as the bedrock of his banking career and status as a leader over the years.
"Unlike other values, trust is personal. Considering the kind of business that we are engaged in, I always say that we come across so many things that if you actually decided to open your mouth too wide, you would always end up saying so many things that others don't need to hear. So you need to inspire confidence that you can be trusted," he explained.
Asked why trust was paramount, he said "you are actually asking people to entrust their wealth to you and before anybody will do that, they will have to be assured that you are someone who can be trusted and so for me, trust is key,"
Once concluded, the Virtual University team will collate and plot a graph of the most recurring virtues and attributes of leaders to be used as a guide by aspiring leaders in the country.
So far, humility and integrity have featured prominently as key virtues of the three guests who have appeared on the show.
His rise over the years
Bond Savings and Loans, which started operations as a non-bank financial institution (NBFI) six years ago, is currently one of the most influential financial institutions in the country.
It's annual growth rate averaged 22.2 per cent as of last year. Shareholders' funds more than doubled to GH¢9.6 million and the company's name is virtually a household one among the business community and private individuals.
The remarkable success of Bond Financial Services can partly be attributed to the leadership credentials and banking acumen of Mr Ofosuhene, who has served as CEO since its inception in 2008.
His first banking role was with the Universal Merchant Bank, then known as Merchant Bank, where he worked as a banking officer in the corporate affairs department before shifting to the defunct Meridian BIO Bank, which later became The Trust Bank (TTB) before it later became part of Ecobank in 2010.
He, however, exited Meridian BIO, of which he was one of the founder members, in 1995 to join the team that started First Atlantic Merchant Bank, now called First Atlantic Bank.
"In 2008, I moved again and helped start Bond. So, if you look at it, I have been part of three start-ups in Ghana and the experiences have been immense," Mr Ofosuhene said.
"One of the things that I have learnt throughout my movements is that anytime you moved, it did not matter who you had as a client; you had to market the products all over again. Sometimes, you think that once you have moved on and the customer has become familiar with you, he/she will automatically follow you but it does not work out like that," he added.
His advice, therefore, is for people to be able to package their products properly and market them to their prospective customers.
Just like any other leader, the CEO of Bond Savings and Loans is consistently faced with the challenge of making decisions on the key issues that crop up daily in his line of work.
The ability to dissect issues quickly and arrive at a decision, he said, was key to the survival and success of every leader and the institution he/she heads.
This attribute, he said, had been vested in him by his maker, God Almighty, thanks to his constant communication with Him through prayers.
"What I always say is that I have a certain source of power and that source of power is the Supreme Being. Every morning, I make sure I connect with God before I do anything else and this is the period I always ask God to give me the strength to take some bold decisions as and when the time comes," Mr Ofosuhene said.
Going forward, the Bond CEO said he would work harder to make the brand a household name in the financial services sector in the country.
"One of my main interests is in creating leaders and that is one of the things I want to be remembered for. I always want to be remembered for creating an organisation that provides a platform for people to unearth their talents," he added.