Dr. Ernest Addison, BoG Governor
ALTHOUGH THE 2022 Banks, SDIs, and PSPs Fraud report showed a decline in staff involvement in fraud cases to 188 in 2022 from 278 in 2021, the persistence of such unethical acts among employees of Banks and SDIs remains a concern.
Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor of the Central Bank, made this known in a keynote address read on his behalf by Bernal Otabil, Head, Ethics and Internal Investigations Office, Bank of Ghana, at the 27th National Banking and Ethics Conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), Ghana.
He said as reported, most of the incidents involving bank staff had to do with cash theft (cash suppression) from customers’ accounts and fraudulent withdrawals on accounts of customers.
“A single case of fraud, involving an employee of a bank or any financial institution, affects the whole industry and weakens public confidence in the industry.
“These trends show the need to educate and inculcate ethical behaviour among staff of financial institutions. Raising awareness of ethical issues, providing banking professionals with ethical training, and fostering a culture of ethics are important building blocks to establishing the right culture within banking institutions. This would also help banking professionals develop the knowledge and skills to navigate complex ethical dilemmas as well as anticipate and deal properly with ethical blind spots.
“Ethical business practice should be pursued relentlessly and aggressively by all industry players. In doing this, we must adopt a collaborative approach, involving every individual in the institution, so that “doing the right thing” becomes embedded in the work culture. Each bank must aim to create a values-driven culture, agreed on by both the leader and leadership team, which should serve as a constant reference within the bank’s systems and processes,” he emphasised.
According to Dr. Addison, when the culture within the banking sector was values-based and values-driven, stakeholders, including depositors, would likely align their values to that of the bank. And by that, a strong ethical organisational culture supported by ethical decision-making and conduct would emerge and enhance professionalism within the industry.
The occasion also witnessed the launch of a newly redesigned flagship Chartered Banker (ACIB) curriculum and an ethics certification programme to help create the required specialised knowledge and improve competency for the benefit of the industry.
Commenting on this, Dr. Addison said that would help banking professionals imbibe the right ethical values to contribute to building the right ethical culture in the various institutions.
“Let me add that the ethics certification is for all employees working in the banking industry; and all bank staff must complete the certification programme and be recertified annually. Fit and proper assessment for key management positions should also include ethics certification. These are initiatives that the Bank of Ghana firmly supports.
“I am also aware of the newly redesigned Chartered Banker qualification, which is relevant to all employees of banks. To build a professional and sustainable banking industry, professional qualification, and continuous professional development for those working in the industry must be taken seriously. Just as lawyers and doctors pursue approved courses of study, so must bankers. This will ensure the sustainable development of the financial sector.
“It is my fervent hope that the collective efforts, from the regulator, banking institutions and their associations, training institutions like CIB, and the individual bankers themselves, will help stem the tide of unethical behaviours and reduce the occurrence of ethical violations to the barest minimum, or eliminate them completely, to raise the levels of trust and confidence of the public in our industry,” he stated.
BY Samuel Boadi