The Association of Rural Banks (ARB) has organised a four-day capacity building workshop on risk management and fraud prevention for staff of selected rural and community banks (RCBs) drawn from across the country at Kasoa in the Central Region.
About 40 participants in managerial functions in various fields of operation including audit, human resources and IT, were empowered on sound risk management practices and how to handle the threat of fraud in their respective institutions.
The training programme was held in collaboration Microfin Consult and RIMCS Consult—a consortium of microfinance and risk management experts—and with funding from the German development agency, GIZ.
National President of the ARB, Daniel Ohene Kweku Owusu, in his opening remarks indicated that the training programme is timely and appropriate, considering recent happenings within the country’s financial landscape; and underscored the need for RCBs to build capacity in the areas of fraud prevention and guarding against risks in cyber security.
He said the increasing reliance on information communications technology in the banking business calls for adequate security protection arrangements which will enable RCBs to mitigate the risk of fraud and other malfeasances within the financial space.
“It is pertinent for businesses and institutions, in this case RCBs, to remain abreast with the ever-changing technology – in machinery, procedures and processes, to remain effective and efficient so as to cut costs, increase productivity and enhance profitability,” he indicated.
Mr. Owusu averred that poor risk management practices have given rise to outrageous insider dealings and other inordinate investment schemes within the universal banking space, and taken a huge toll on the operations of RCBs – especially in the areas of deposit mobilisation and loan recoveries.
He added: “We expect this training to equip participants with a basic understanding of risk and fraud associated with the banking business, so as to enable them develop appropriate measures to mitigate any resultant undesirable consequences in a strategic manner”.
One of the facilitators for the training programme, Ishmael Kwesi Otchere, told the B&FT in an interview that it is prudent for RCBs to deploy efficient risk management and fraud prevention mechanisms in their operations, since banking is all about managing assets and liabilities efficiently.
“The changing trends in the banking sector, specifically the rural banking business, require that RCBs reposition to better meet needs of the industry, considering the fact that they are custodians of people’s deposits,” he said.
He added: “This training programme will strengthen the capacity of RCBs’ managers in their control and management of fraudulent practices at their respective banks”.
Cynthia Odonkor, GIZ’s Technical Adviser-Financial Systems Development (FSD) of the Programme for Sustainable Economic Development (PSED), indicated in her remarks that the four-day training will empower participants to be proactive with happenings in the financial sector, and to put in place relevant structures to operate efficiently.
“We expect participants to practicalise what they have learned in their various institutions, and ensure they have in place the necessary structures to avoid the collapse of their banks,” she noted.