The Bank of Ghana has pledge to continue to monitor the rapid evolution of risks in the digital financial services ecosystem and recalibrate rules and supervisory approaches and tools to help mitigate them.

It will also ensure that regulated institutions effectively manage the risks that their businesses and actions or inactions pose to the entire system.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting at the Ghana Association of Savings and Loans Companies, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzi, said digitization is changing the way financial institutions store and analyse data, relying on cloud-based infrastructure which offers among others, cost reduction, processing speed, integrated security, improved scalability, flexibility, and improved risk management.

She therefore said financial institutions that have not already designed, adopted, and implemented a digital transformation strategy are already behind the curve, adding the Savings and Loans sector risks becoming a dinosaur as more banks reach the informal sector and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises sector with their innovative digital financial services.

“There is therefore, the urgent need for the S and L sector to take steps to reposition itself by leveraging emerging technologies to modernise their business models to meet the fast-changing needs of their customers’ needs and to remain relevant to the segment of the economy that was traditionally served by the sector”, she stressed.

The Ghana Association of Savings and Loans Companies also launched its Code of Ethics and Conduct for the sector. This is aimed at ensuring the continued commitment to adhering to best practices and ethical standards that would engender public trust and confidence in the activities of the savings and loans sub-sector

Elsie Addo Awadzi said the importance of having a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for the sub-sector cannot be over emphasized, adding “we all saw how widespread incidence of mismanagement, fraud, non-compliance with rules and high standards of ethics contributed to the collapse of 420 financial institutions regulated by the Bank of Ghana, including 15 savings and loans companies.”

“A code of Ethics and Conduct has the potential to improve confidence and trust in the S&L sector and help to boost its fortunes. Let me stress however that, a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct by itself cannot work any magic without the conscious observance of its provisions and strict enforcement by the Association. It will require a strong commitment to the values enshrined in the Code by all member institutions and their shareholders, Board, and staff. It will require peer vigilance and co-enforcement by members against each other”, she added.

Total assets of Savings and Loans companies hit ¢16bn

At the end of the first quarter of 2022, total assets of the specialised deposit-taking institutions sector exceeded ¢16.0 billion, of which the Savings and Loans sub-sector contributed 35.1%.

Savings and Loans companies disbursed a total of ¢3.4 billion in net loans to private enterprises and businesses in the first quarter of 2022 alone.