Banking and Corporate Governance Consultant, Dr. Richmond Atuahene

The directive by the Bank of Ghana is expected to deepen the savings culture of Ghanaians as well as rope in the unbanked segment of the population into the financial inclusion agenda.

According to Banking Consultant, Dr. Richmond Atuahene, the move will also improve transparency and high disclosure in the banking industry, as banks have in the past exploited some customers unfairly.

The Central Bank described the practices by the Central Bank as unfair, inappropriate and detrimental to the financial inclusion agenda.

Dr. Atuahene tells Joy Business the Bank of Ghana has stepped up its game.

“What Bank of Ghana has done seriously is to improve transparency, a high disclosure in the industry. What has been happening over the last two decades was that unnecessary fees were being levied on customers and these were actually inhibiting customer business. It was actually not encouraging people to save or in other words encourage financial inclusion”

“I believe that this would now bring to the industry high transparency and openness, so that customers would know how much he/she is paying, otherwise customers have been taken for granted over a long time. What we term “treat customers fairly”, I think Bank of Ghana is now introducing the core principle of treating customers fairly by actually ensuring that the banks charge reasonable fees for the work done”, he pointed out.

Dr. Atuahene said some banks were taking advantage of the ignorance of customers by exploiting them, adding, the Bank of Ghana is trying to help the customers to know their rights and what to do.

“Ideally, before any facility is set up or before any customer is given even a digital platform, you need to do a disclosure. Unfortunately, some banks are not doing it. I mean I know a customer who is on a certain platform – this VISA platform whether you use the digital system or not, every month they will charge you GH¢10. And I’m saying that if you’re going to levy GH¢10 every week over a period where the customer has not even used the facility, what does it mean”.

He further said “so what Bank of Ghana is trying to do is that there should be more disclosure, information transparency as well as help customers to understand banking practices and norms.

BoG directs banks, SDIs to abolish unfair fees, charges, others

The Bank of Ghana on Friday directed banks and Specialized Deposit Taking Institutions to abolish unfair fees, charges and other practices in the banking sector.

This is in line with its mandate to deal with unlawful or improper practices of banks and SDIs under Section 3 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930), and to ensure that the interest of customers of banks and SDIs are adequately protected.

They include Credit Insurance Premium Overcharges, Maintenance Fees on Savings Account, Over the Counter (OTC) Withdrawal Charges, Change of Ownership of Collateral Documents, Application of interest on Penal Charges, Quotation of Monthly Interest Rates on Credit Facilities and Third Party Deposit/Withdrawal Violations.