Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, is asking banks in the country to comply with the consumer protection policy governing the sector.
This forms part of the Central Bank’s effort to ensure the comfort and safety of consumers are well attended to.
Section 3 of the Banks and Specialized Deposits-Taking Institutions Act 2016 (Act 930) mandates the Bank of Ghana to, among other things, regulate and supervise the conduct of banks and SDIs.
In pursuance of section 3(2)(d) and section 92(2)(a)(xi) of Act 930, the Bank of Ghana issued the Consumer Recourse Mechanism Guidelines for Financial Service Providers in 2017 to provide customers of institutions licensed by the Bank of Ghana with access to adequate redress that is fair, efficient, timely, and without cost to the complainant.
Specifically, the Guidelines require licensed institutions to display notices in all branches, informing their customers of the processes in place at that institution for lodging and addressing customer complaints, the timelines for resolving such complaints, and how unresolved complaints may be escalated to the Bank of Ghana.
According to the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, these regulations are not being followed by the various banks.
Lamenting some of the infractions being committed by the banks per his outfit’s findings, Dr. Addison asked the banks to put strict measures in place to ensure staff of banks comply with the consumer protection laws.
“The BoG saw a number of unfair treatments were meted out to customers, including the application of unlawful charges in terms and conditions. Some of these unfair charges included penalty charges for over-the-counter withdrawals below stipulated minimum amounts and levying on maintenance fees of savings accounts. We also found that some banks were not transparent in their credit delivery process, leading to very high cost of borrowing. Also, some banks did not deliver on marketing promises, leading to customer frustrations. The Bank also observed some unacceptable conducts of frontline staff as a result of lack of training for such staff.”
“I am highlighting these for your attention and to draw to you the importance of ensuring that consumers are well treated. This expectation is not only important to the Bank of Ghana but to other stakeholders and the general public as well,” he stressed.
The governor made these assertions during the launch of the Ghana Bankers’ Association and KPMG’s magazine, ‘The GH Bankers’ Voice’.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Bankers’ Association tells Citi Business News what the motive behind the magazine is.
“Banks generate volumes of data and information. For several years since we’ve had the first bank in this country, we’ve not had a mouthpiece for the industry and we thought that it’ll be good for us to lead the discussion,” he explained.
“We know there are analysts, consultants and subject-matter experts who may want to speak to matters concerning banking in the country and beyond. But to what extent are we tabling the agenda so that we can direct the narrative and the direction of the discussions as we all engage in this business of banking?”
The magazine, which will be released half-yearly, is expected to be of benefit to all banking stakeholders including customers, suppliers, and regulators.
Anthony Sarpong, a Senior Partner at the partnering company, KPMG, also stressed on the need for his outfit to partner the Ghana Bankers’ Association to come out with the magazine.
“The banking sector in Ghana is one of the key sectors that drive financial intermediation in the economy, and therefore collaborating with the Bankers’ Association makes sense to us to be able to combine our strength in terms of information and insight that can build the industry and that will help ultimately all Ghanaians.”