Contrary to some speculations that the country’s banking sector was unhealthy, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) on Tuesday assured the public that the sector was stable, strong, and alive, and had put stringent measures to protect customers’ deposits.
The BOG reiterated that it was committed to ensuring a stable financial system in the country to facilitate the rapid growth of businesses.
Speaking at the Graphic Business and Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra, Mrs Elsie Awadzi, the Second Deputy Governor of BoG, said her outfit would strictly enforce the banking rules and urged the public to support BoG in its quest to sanitize the sector.
The day’s forum that assembled players in the financial sector to share views on critical issues relating to business and the well-being of the country’s economy was on the theme, “Liquidity and Solvency Management-Boosting the Health of Banking in Ghana”.
Mrs Elsie Awadzi said: “We acknowledge that we made some mistakes in the past and that had resulted in some of the issues we had in recent times which involves institutions such as UT Bank, UniBank and Capital Bank. It happened as a result of none enforcement of some laws.
“We have come out to say we will not shield any bank, we will enforce the rules swiftly. We are taking steps to sanction financial institutions that do not comply with the laid down rules to ensure sanity.”
Mrs Awadzi urged the public to do its bit by being vigilant, doing fact checking before making an investment and asking their financial institutions probing questions, including the kind of business their investment was being used for.
“If your bank is promising you dividend above the threshold of BoG and as a customer, you are happy with it, then it means you are also part of the problem. As a regulator, we are doing our part and the public needs to complement our effort to protect their investments.”
She disclosed that the BoG had set up Market Conduct Office that would look at the behaviour of financial institutions in relations to their customers, adding that clients could connect with the office through the complaint hotline to table their grievances.
Mr Vish Ashiagbor, Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) reiterated that poor corporate governance and management was a major cause of insolvency and liquidation in many businesses in Ghana.
He said businesses might go into distress due to factors including government policy, regulatory regime, and corporate behaviour.
Mr Ransford Tetteh, Acting Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Ltd, said the country had sometimes woken up to news of bank collapse or take-over of some financial institutions by the regulator due to liquidity challenges.
Depositors, he said, had always reacted to such news in a manner that showed clearly that they were worried, with some of them attempting to close their accounts with the affected banks, notwithstanding assurances by the Bank of Ghana that their deposits were safe.
“This leads to loss of confidence in the banking sector, a danger we must avoid because of the critical role banks play in mobilizing funds for productive use. To boost confidence in banking, therefore, requires dealing with one of the fundamental causes of the problem, which is how best to manage liquidity and solvency to keep banks healthy,” he said.
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