Photo credit: peacefmonline.com

Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah has said a petition by customers of First Allied Savings and Loans will be referred to the government’s economic management team.

The move, he said, will bring a lasting solution to the over four months old impasse between customers and management of the financial institution.

“We will meet officials of First Allied Savings and Loans and representatives of the central bank in the region then we refer the rest to our superiors in Accra and we will refer the rest to our Economic Management Team for their input and advice,” he said.

He made the comment after aggrieved customers of the bank sent a petition to the Ashanti Region Coordinating Council following an earlier demonstration on Tuesday.

The customers said they are unable to access their deposits at the financial institution.

“I believe that, for some of them, this is the only fortune that they have in their life and if they lose this, several people might even lose their lives.

“We will do our best in the region and also communicate to the authorities above us and our superiors to make sure that the necessary action will be taken,” he added.

According to him, the challenges in the banking sector is so serious that it could affect the confidence the general public have in the sector.

“We will minimise the suffering the people are facing and ensure that First Allied Savings and Loans pays back their (customers) deposits,” he stressed.

Tuesday’s demonstration

Holding placards with different inscriptions, the aggrieved customers, clad in red and black, started the demonstration from the children’s park at about some minutes past 10 am.

They walked through some principal streets of Kumasi to drum home their displeasure over their inability to access their deposits.

This was the second demonstration they have done in one month, the first one was to petition Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

According to one of their leaders, “I witnessed it; Asantehene has called the Bank of Ghana to discuss the issue”.

They have had to resort to demonstration because according to the customers, for more than four months, they have tried unsuccessfully to retrieve their monies without success.

“Anytime we go to them, they say, we should come back at the end of the month so there is no money. That’s been going on for some five months now,” another aggrieved customer complained.

They handed a one-page petition to the regional coordinating council where the Ashanti Region Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, received it.

They are asking the President, Nana Akufo-Addo to come to their aid.

“We know Nana [President] will do it for us. This petition is for one week, if we don’t hear any favourable answer, we will bus ourselves to Accra and match to the Jubilee House and petition the President personally. All that we want to say is that, we need our money”.

But First Allied Savings and Loans, says it is not deliberately keeping the customers’ cash and refusing to pay.

First Allied Savings and Loans response

Management of First Allied Savings and Loans say they are working assiduously to release their customers’ funds to them.

Public Affairs Manager of the company, Jones Owusu, said panic withdrawals following the consolidation of five banks months back is affecting them.

He said following the incident, many of its customers have rushed to withdraw their savings, making it difficult for the company to make any meaningful investments and make returns that will allow it pay the remaining clients.

Mr Owusu said the crisis has also resulted in many people holding on to their monies.

“People want to be sure that the bank will survive before they put their monies there, ” he said.

He was, however, unable to give a specific date when the monies will be ready.

Source: Myjoyonline.com