The Bank of Ghana (BoG) is engaging directors of ASN Financial Services Limited, a licensed Finance House, to find an amicable solution to the troubled indigenous institution.
The company, which specializes in investment services, credit issuance, and mortgage products, is currently struggling to meet the demands of some of its customers for payment of funds invested.
Though industry watchers know about the troubles of the company, the regulator is yet to notify the investing public about the issue and is dealing with the directors of the company on the quiet.
Bernard Otabil, Head of Communication at the BoG, in a response to B&FT’s enquiry about the challenges with company said: “The directors of the company are cooperating with the Central Bank to find an amicable solution to the ASN-FSL issues. We have our call centre where customers can call to register their complaints.”
Disgruntled customers of the company, however, say there is no information flow about the current happenings within the company and between the BoG and ASN-FSL.
Dr. Kobby Mensah, a customer of ASN-FSL told the B&FT that he is struggling to recoup GH¢15,000 invested in the company’s real-estate product and has been completely neglected by the company.
“I have GH¢15, 000 with ASN Financial Services Limited. What wrong did I do? Someone introduced to me a mortgage plan, of course I didn’t go there to put in and turn around my money in a twinkle of an eye to be a millionaire. I don’t believe in that.
I want to move into my own property and I have been thinking of the best way of doing it. I have a land, of course it’s going to take some time. So I thought that their mortgage plan, where you pay some amount of money and then pay monthly, was good for me to secure one of their houses at Amrahia-Akatamanso area. So I gave them GH¢ 15,000. Later on, due to encroachment on my land, I decided to withdraw my money and start something on my land. That is where the trouble began. Apparently, the company was collapsing,” Dr. Mensah said.
“Where do I go with ASN-FSL? I don’t know. I know institution that have about GH¢400,000 with the company.” Dr. Mensah lamented and called for an Ombudsman, with legal powers, to mediate between companies and their customers when challenge arises,” he added.
Dr. Mensah’s compliant is one of several ones received by the B&FT complaining of similar issues with the ASN-FSL.
There are about 34 universal banks, four other international banks with representative offices in Ghana–Citibank N.A, Ghana International Bank Plc, Exim Bank of Korea, and Bank of Beirut.
There are also more than 429 licensed microfinance institutions offering various financial products to the public as at July last year.
There are also 70 Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFs). This is made up of 22 Finance Houses; 2 remittance companies; 3 Credit Reference Bureaus; 37 Savings and Loans companies; 2 leasing companies; 3 finance and leasing companies; and one mortgage finance institution.
The regulator, when challenges with financial services come up, deal with the directors directly to settle the issue. However, Dr. Mensah believes that the BoG should publish notices of financial institutions in distress to avoid a repeat of the DKM saga.
“Why haven’t the BOG put out a notice that these are the financial institutions struggling? We cannot be taken for granted in sinking our monies into institutions that are struggling. Imagine a poor person who puts their monies in there, what are they supposed to do. Agencies and officials are covering the issue out of the public glare. They are still in town collecting monies,” Dr. Mensah said.