The ARB Apex Bank PLC has held its annual Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) meeting, formerly known as Operations meetings, for its Ashanti Chapter in Fumesua, near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region – the first since COVID-19.
The GRC is held for Directors and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) and ARB Apex Bank to discuss new governing policies and directives from the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
The two-day meeting gave the participants the platform to deliberate and fashion out how to effectively deal with several issues such as the implementation of the Corporate Governance Directive, T-24 Infrastructure Up-grade, Rollout of Ghana Card Verification Project, Rollout of GhanaPay and other development agenda of the ARB Apex Bank PLC.
In an opening remark at the GRC Meeting, Managing Director, ARB Apex Bank PLC, Alex Awuah, cautioned participants to adhere fully to Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) new Corporate Governance Directive to prevent any sanctions that may come with going contrary to the terms and conditions in it.
“The regulator recently released a circular titled: ‘Appointment of Directors’, in which it stated, among others, that ‘…All unapproved persons cease and desist from holding themselves out as Directors with immediate effect’. And I wish to use this opportunity to entreat all RCBs to ensure that the appropriate Bank of Ghana approval is sought for anyone seeking to become a Director of any bank. Severe sanctions await any individuals who have not been cleared, but are holding themselves out as Directors of RCBs,” he alerted.
Rollout of GhanaPay
On the rollout of GhanaPay – a Bank-wide Mobile Wallet Service – by Ghana Association of Bankers and the Ghana Inter-Bank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Mr. Awuah urged the participants to embrace the service and leverage the opportunity to grow their fee incomes while explaining details.
“This service will be offered as a generic product to all RCBs, other banks and Savings and Loans companies. The service would be accessible via USSD (for feature phones) and through the App for smartphone users on the Android, and App stores on the IOS. It offers existing Telcos mobile money service capabilities with additional features such as Agency Banking. RCBs can leverage this new infrastructure to issue wallet accounts to existing and new customers, as well as set up bank agents,” he maintained.
Rollout of Ghana Card Verification Project
On Bank of Ghana’s directive that by July 1, 2022 the Ghana Card will become the only acceptable and approved national identification instrument for financial transactions, My Awuah noted that all steps needed to roll out the policy are ongoing.
“The ARB Apex Bank, together with National Identification Authority and Margins ID Systems Applications Limited, are rolling out the Identity Management System (IMS) for all banks and ARB Apex Bank branches. We wish to thank the Bank of Ghana for providing us the necessary funding support at a concessionary interest rate,” he said.
“We shall make sure that we set the agenda in our space so that our services can become more affordable than what pertains in the other banks and financial institutions. RCBs’ service offerings must be differentiated from that of the mainstream universal banks. Our niche offerings must stand out so that our role becomes clearer to customers and all the stakeholders in the financial services sector.
“If our services are expensive, we cannot compete favourably; and we are likely to cut ourselves off from the already competitive space which is getting saturated with Financial Technology (Fintech) products, which did not exist some five to 10 years ago,” Mr. Awuah said.