President of the Ghana Association of Bankers, Alhassan Andani has counseled professional bankers in the country, particularly the newly inducted, to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the ethics of their profession, as to act at variance to this would have dire consequences not only for individuals and institutions but the wider profession.
Using the recent financial sector clean-up as a point of reference, he suggested that a blatant disregard for the principles on which the profession was founded was at the root of the rot and cautioned that further erosion of trust from the public would be especially damning.
Delivering the keynote address at the 11th graduation and induction ceremony of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) Ghana, he recounted the vital role the profession has historically played in the advancement of any economy and argued that the increased prominence of such role has placed greater responsibility on its practitioners.
“As long as we have moving economic structures, banking in its shapes and forms will remain relevant. Therefore, if you have the privilege of working in such noble institution, where hard-working agents of the economy entrust you to transfer the value, you must conduct business with the highest sense of integrity, probity and ethics.
Our history over the last few years has not been a proud one and it all comes down to the ethics of it. On average, if you look at all the professions, banking ranks among the top quartile of those rewarded for a fair job. If you are rewarded for a fair job and you are still challenged by ethics, then that’s alarming,” he stated.
On the necessity of the financial sector-clean up, he added: “down to it were practices in institutions that had absolutely nothing to do with what we learnt here or what your forbearers were taught here as chartered bankers; we just set aside the basic principles of banking and did things.
The general public and taxpayer who had to bailout our colleague banks and safeguard the depositors’ money hold us accountable and they think this is the practice of our profession. It is for you, the new graduands, taking over the helm of affairs to ensure we reestablish a very disciplined, ethically–bound banks to be the true nerve-center of the economy.”
Mr. Andani, who doubles as the MD for Stanbic Bank, charged them not to rest on their laurels but see the charter as the minimum they could attain. He added that the financial sector landscape has witnessed significant changes, saying that the era of banks earning their bread and butter from collections and payments through generic, straitjacket products and services is gone, and cited increased competition from fintech and telcos, with overlapping activities, as a major driver of the change.
As with a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit earlier this year, which revealed that 77% of 305 banking executives surveyed around the world agree that Artificial Intelligence will be the defining feature between successful banks and failed banks, Mr. Andani stated that technology – data, AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) will shape the next phase of banking and urged the new inductees to get themselves abreast with these.
In a similar vein, President of CIB, Ghana, Patricia Sappor, confirmed that the Institute will demonstrate its commitment to the highest ethical standards as well as the future-proofing of its members through appropriate adjustments to its curriculum and engagements.
“We will shortly announce the launch of the Ghana Banking code of Ethics in collaboration with the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Association of Bankers. Also, our entire curriculum is being revised to align with the changes happening in the global and local banking space.”
At the ceremony, which was described as ‘special’ due to the impressive level of performance, in spite of the disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic, 239 were inducted into association and welcomed into membership of the charter with another eight graduating.