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I don’t regret ‘harassing’ loan defaulters; I would do it again or much worse – Kofi Amoabeng

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Prince Kofi Amoabeng

The co-founder of the defunct Unique Trust (UT) Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, has said that he has no regret for the manner in which his company dealt with loan defaulters.

He said he should have even “done more” to force such people to pay their debts.

Speaking in an interview on Prime Morning on Monday, the retired banker said officials of the financial institution became reluctant in pursuing defaulters after they upgraded and became a bank.

“For the very things that we were doing, we got successful. But, now when we became a bank, and we had become bigger, my influence couldn’t reach everybody, and my managers did not exhibit the same manner of collecting the monies and that in part resulted in us having defaults in payments,” he said.

Whilst UT Bank was still in business, Mr Amoabeng was criticised for the bank’s approach in getting defaulters to repay. For critics, the approach was harassing.

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But Mr Amoabeng insists that that approach yielded results as debtors paid back loans granted them.

He explained that it was important to be aggressive as repayment was not on the priority list of debtors.

“For Ghanaian businessmen, if you give them a loan, instead of coming to pay, the first thing they think of is either to get a woman, buy a car, spend money at funerals without coming to pay for the loan,” he said.

He rejected opinions that their approach was ‘too extreme.’

According to him, if debtors were honest in communicating their challenges to the institution, those in charge of debt collection would have been more lenient.

That notwithstanding, Mr Amoabeng said that he “liked the ones who were defaulting.”

Admitting that the “harsh” relationship he had with defaulters affected his reputation, he said that it also made him successful in the business.

“Even other banks assigned their bad debts to us. So well, apart from collecting our monies, we collected for other institutions as well. If you can’t collect, you go down, and you go down and fail your investors. Therefore, you must find ways and means of collecting your money,” he mentioned.

“I knew Ghanaians. I knew how business people behave. So I knew their mentality and I meant to discipline them.”

Mr Amoabeng narrated how some persons who were ‘chased’ to pay their debt later told him that they had become disciplined because of the approach.

The retired businessman insisted that if he ever gets into the business of giving loans, his debt collection approach will be “worse than before.”

“If I have to give you money again this time and you don’t pay I would come, worst than before.

“I would never understand why you go to all lengths to take people’s monies and give it to someone in need and when he can’t even pay, he disrespects you by not even coming to see you. People will say that the approach is too mean but I gave you people’s money and I don’t sleep, I stay awake and come to you at dawn and you call me inconsiderate? What are you then?”

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