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27.03.2008 Business & Finance

Banks Need Common Platform For Interconnectivity

By GNA
Mr  Dela Selormey, Head of Banking Supervision Department, Bank of Ghana yesterday called for the provision of a common platform that would allow interconnectivity and interoperability of banks technology systems.
 
'Indeed, all other banks have also linked up their branch operations in various wide area networks. What remains to be done is the integration of the whole banking system to demystify the restrictions of customers to operate only through their banks,' he noted.
 
Mr Selormey made these remarks at the launch of Commernet Plus and Royal Banking products of the Ghana Commercial Bank Limited at Osu in Accra.  Commernet Plus is an Internet banking service that allowed Internet registered customer to log in to the bank's website with a password and perform banking transactions.
 
In Royal Banking, customers stand to benefit from services such as expedited banking services, extended banking hours, access to telephone banking and free monthly bank statements among others.
 
Mr  Selormey said the Bank of Ghana (BoG) was witnessing the proactive and innovative approaches in contacting and attracting customers to do business adding, 'the era where banks waited in the comfort of their offices for customers to approach them and open accounts has become a thing of the past.'
 
'The regulatory and prudential reform in recent years have provided the platform that would engender competition and generate efficiency in the service delivery,' he remarked.  He pointed out that the regulatory reforms were indications to the various banks to review and change their ways of doing business and pointed out the anti-money laundering Act 2007 that prescribed responsibilities of institutions and the sanctions that applied in the event of default.
 
Mr Selormey reminded the banks of the need to be conversant with the provisions of the new laws, as they would be required to submit their reports to the BoG. He said the BoG has been reviewing its supervisory practices to ensure that it had the requisite skills and tools for effective monitoring of risks undertaken by banks.
 
'The collaborative effort of customer vigilance and the Bank of Ghana's monitoring role would enable us to maintain the safety and soundness of the banking system.' Mr Selormey observed  
 
While lauding the benefits of electronic banking, Mr Selormey noted that it raised some serious risks and appealed to the bank to take strong and appropriate internal controls to monitor and prevent the occurrence of nay risks.  'The control processes should include access codes and firewall that will make it difficult for unauthorized access and also provide appropriate audit trails.
 
Mr Selormey reminded the management of GCB that had a responsibility to ensure that the system was always up and running to retain the confidence of the public and maintain the banks image.
 
He pledged the Central Bank's commitment to continue to encourage the development and introduction of new products by banks, especially products that reduced the use of cash for transacting business.
 
'It must be noted that however that Central Bank will not relax in monitoring these products to ensure that the customer interest is safeguarded,' he said. 
 
Professor George Gyan Baffour, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning commended GCB for its immeasurable role in the socio-economic development of the country adding government cherished its achievements.
 
Mr Lawrence Adu-Mante Managing Director, GCB said the nation's banking sector had seen an unprecedented competition over the past five years with several banks emerging with variety of services and products.  He said the two products of the bank were only going to pave way for customer empowerment and ensure that transactions and processes were executed with little human intervention.
 
Mr Adu-Mante said GCB had developed a new three-year corporate plan beginning this year to enable it to concentrate on its efforts and resources in executing plans highlighted on the rights issue floated last year.
 
This, he said, would enhance service delivery and create more value for the bank's shareholders.
 King Tackie Tawiah, Ga Mantse later cut the tape to a refurnished edifice of the bank, which would be used as the hub for the two products.

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