Dr Ernest Addison, the Governor, Bank of Ghana on Tuesday urged banking institutions to put in place effective cyber risk management policies to secure and safeguard their systems against possible cyber-attacks.
He said the digitization of the banking systems would be eroded if adequate investments were not made for the effective protection of the information technology and security infrastructure.
Dr Addison stated at the 24th National Banking conference organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), Ghana on the theme; “The Changing Banking Landscape: Leverage the Impact of COVID-19 to be Future Ready”.
He said BoG had put in place policies such as consumer recourse mechanism guidelines, disclosure, and product transparency rules, as well as cybersecurity directive to promote operational efficiency in the sector.
He charged the banks to invest in digital banking platforms to enhance financial inclusion, adding that financial technology would be a game-changer in the sector to meet the needs of clients.
Dr Addison said the use of digital and mobile banking platforms to conduct banking transactions had increased since the outbreak of COVID-19 and that banks had responded positively to these changes through the deployment of sophisticated user-friendly digital platforms with minimum disruptions.
He said the BoG is ready to support banks and all players in the digital space to operate ethically and responsibly.
The BoG Governor urged banks to put in place a sound corporate governance system to enhance their operations efficiently and effectively to be competitive in the world of business.
“Corporate governance should not be resigned to only senior management and board of financial institutions, it must be embedded in the entire organizational setup, and exemplified through the daily professional conduct of all employees,” he said.
He said the rapid changes in climatic condition requires that the future of banking business was linked to sustainable principles.
He stressed that without proper assessment of the social and environmental risks, climate-related projects financed by Banks can be adversely affected which may be translated to other risks such as project completion risk, credit default risk, and reputational risks.
He commended the Bankers Association and heads of banks for the corporation and compliance with the regulatory relief measures to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BoG, he stated had issued guidelines on the prudential treatment of the loans restructure and credit repayment reliefs to be provided by banks to ensure seamless implementation of the regulatory reliefs.
Mrs Patricia Sappor, CIB-Ghana President, said in May 2020, the Ghana Banking Sector report by KPMG projected that as a result of the adverse effect of COVID-19, the country’s oil revenue target was expected to drop by 53 per cent.
The report revealed that downsizing in the tourism sector was expected to result in a potential revenue loss of about US$170 million, while occupancy rates of hotels have declined from 70 per cent to below 30 per cent.
Also, the Bank’s fee income from money transfer services, collection of school fees, and loans to the education sector has been adversely impacted according to the report.
Mrs Sappor said these issues had made Banks and financial services providers to design innovative and tailor-made services and products that meet the needs of customers and ensure their sustainability.
She said the financial industry had successfully navigated the prompt weights of the COVID-19 emergency, by adjusting their working models to drive proficiency and strength.