The bank of Ghana has released a report assessing banks and SDIs’ compliance with it’s consumer protection regime.
Of much concern, findings indicate several breaches by commercial banks in Ghana, regarding regulations on market conduct.
It revealed that banks in the country are signing customers onto E-banking products and services and consequently charging fees on them without customers’ explicit consent.
It also indicates that over-the-counter withdrawals from savings accounts, below stipulated minimum amounts, are attracting fees.
Similarly, changes to iterms and conditions of loan agreements were made and implemented without the required period of prior notification to customers, according to the report.
“Prior to pursuing enforcement actions on loan defaulters, the minimum prescribed notice period of 30 days was not given to some borrowers”, the report said.
All these are in violation of the market conduct regulatory regime of the central bank.
Disclosure and Transparency
On disclosure and Transparency requirements, the reports reveals that some borrowers were not provided with pre-agreement disclosure statements prior to the signing of loan agreements.
Also, it said that borrowers were not clearly informed of the requirement to submit their credit data to credit bureaux as part of loan application process.
On the subject of Data Protection, the report states that personal details provided by remittance customers were subsequently used for telemarketing promotional activities without the consent of individuals.
Also, “abandoned forms or slips used by customers for balance enquiries and other transactions were not properly disposed of, thereby exposing customer personal details to third parties”.
According to the report, certain commercial banks in Ghana failed to deliver on their marketing promise of disbursing certain loan facilities within 24 hours.
Additionally, most banking facilities such as banking halls and ATMs are not easily accessible to physically-challenged persons.
“There were instances where hawking activities were allowed in front of some banking halls”.
The report was conducted from November 2019 to February 2020. It aims to ensure adequate focus on the conduct of banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) towards their customers.
The exercise involved officials of the Market Conduct Office visiting eight selected banks to examine the structures, systems, and processes in place to promote consumer protection and the early resolution of customer complaints,. Also to generally assess compliance with relevant market conduct rules.
The examinations covered a number of key areas including; Board and Management oversight of the complaints handling function, unfair banking practices; privacy and data protection issues; ambience of banking halls; disclosure and transparency; and the content of marketing material.
The Central bank included this statement in the report…
“Following the completion of the banking and SDI sector clean-up in 2019, the
Bank of Ghana has intensified its market conduct supervision. Since the Market
Conduct Office published its hotline and other contact details in 2019, the Office
has received an average of thirty (30) weekly complaints from the public through
phone calls, WhatsAPP messages, e-mails, and direct walk-ins to the Market
Conduct Office located at Cedi House. These complaints have typically been
resolved by the Office within twenty (20) days”
By Salifu B.B. Moro