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BoG policies must protect local banks - Amoabeng

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Bank of Ghana has been called upon to institute policies and programmes that will help to protect the interest of wholly owned Ghanaian banks.

Making particular reference to the minimum capital requirement for indigenous banks, the Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng said the present policies of the central bank could only crowd out the indigenous banks, creating a turf for only the international ones to strive.

He was speaking with the top executive of Corporate Initiative Ghana (CIG), organisers of the Ghana Banking Awards during a courtesy call on him in his office in Accra.

The call, which was led by the Executive Secretary of CIG, Mr Afotey Odarteifio, and the Chief Host and Chair of the Awards Planning Committee, Mr Willing Vanderpuye was to outline the activities for this year’s awards which has been scheduled tentatively for June  and to congratulate the UT Bank for emerging winner of the 11th Ghana Banking Awards held last year.

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“Every bank has a niche market and therefore no matter the size of your portfolio, you are able to serve your customers well and they love it”, he said.

Mr Amoabeng said the issue about raising the minimum capital to enable the banks to take up the “so-called big ticket transaction is not the way to go because I may have all that money but refuse to take up any big thing”.

He noted that once a bank knew what it wanted, the size of its minimum capital should not matter.

The central bank gave the local banks a target of GHC60 million and in recent times, it has raised it to GhC100 million.

“If this is the way we want to go, then we should be ready to have only foreigners playing in the banking sector and that is not only bad but unfortunate”, he added.

On the awards, he described the achievement of the bank as rewarding “because it has been able to open up new challenges for us and our customers are also happy with us”.

Mr Amoabeng said one of the hallmarks of the bank had been the quality of service given to its customers and noted that “As much as we know we have to do more, we are happy for the recognition given us and we will strive to higher heights”.

He congratulated the organisers of the awards and expressed the hope that, the initiative would further help to heighten competition within the banking sector.

Mr Odarteifio on his part congratulated UT Bank on their achievement saying, “your bank broke the chain of the dominance of foreign banks winning the awards”.

He said the award by UT Bank was a demonstration of the capability of local banks to “do something good for the people and they must be encouraged to do more on all fronts”.

Mr Odarteifio said the banking awards has created a lot of competition within the sector and pledged the commitment of CIG to engage the banks at all times to craft the way forward for the awards.

Mr Vanderpuye on his part said the technical committee meetings, made up of representatives of the banks, Ernst and Young and CEDINOMICS, the event statisticians have begun their meetings to amend the methodology for the awards as was done every year.

He said the move was intended to make it relevant to meet the changing needs of the sector and expressed the hope that those present would continue to make valuable input into the process.

Story by Charles Benoni Okine