… calls for constant innovation to stay ahead of times
Profitability is key to a bank’s health and growth, but that should not override other factors such as the brand’s promise, integrity, constant innovation and adherence to ethics, the Chartered Institute of Bankers Ghana (CIB) has said in its extensive review of 2020.
“Customers expect the banks and banking practitioners to stand for something more than just profits. They expect us to keep to our brand promise; either as individuals, practitioners or as financial institutions,” the Institute said.
The Institute, in nudging banks to stay true to what they say, believes that to consolidate the gains and confidence of consumers and businesses in the banking sector and reaffirmed that banking thrives on the confidence, poise and self-assurance that stakeholders, customers and clients have in bankers.
“Apart from the knowledge, skills and technical expertise professionals in the industry possess, there is a need to exhibit integrity in order to gain the confidence of the public,” it added in the statement – which also touched on political stability, inflation, fiscal policy, economic growth, and the external sector.
Touching further on innovation, CIB Ghana noted that banks must be more innovative in these economicaly turbulent times to drive their markets. Innovation, it said, is the new way that will keep the ‘marriage’ between banks and the consumers and business community.
“Our banks must therefore be more innovative to stay on top of the minds of the market actors. The banks must consider carrying out new combinations which include the introduction of new products, new services, and the creation of new markets.”
To CIB Ghana, bank innovation must be original and more effective – and as a consequence, new – that breaks into the consumer market and/or business society. “Innovation is also often viewed as taking place through the provision of more-effective and enhanced processes, technologies or business models that innovators make available to markets, economies and societies.
“Innovation is generally considered to be the result of a process that brings together various novel ideas in such a way that they affect society. In many advanced economies, innovations are created and found empirically from services to meet growing and changing consumer demands, and there is always a distinction between sustainable and disruptive innovations.
“Sustainable innovation is the improvement of a product or service based on the known needs of current customers; whereas disruptive innovation, in contrast, refers to a process by which a new product or service creates a new market, eventually displacing established competitors. Banks must therefore strike to improve on their innovations to attract, retain and grow consumers and business into the banking – space and for that matter, raise their confidence the more in Ghana’s economy.”
Human capital investment alongside technology is perfect mix
With banks, globally, undergoing rapid transformation in their business models through innovations in technology and shifts in customer expectations, the recent upsurge of mobile telephony and digitalisation has had the most impacts in the banking business of Ghana.
The Institute therefore believes that investment in human capital development must run along with technology to create agile businesses and sustain profitability, because a workforce well-resourced with digital skills that is capable of mastering and navigating technology in the business of banking is required.
“That is, bank staff must be fit for purpose. Staff knowledge and the application of mega-trends in technology have become a core skill that bankers need to remain fit for purpose in the industry. Ideal technology and mega-trend awareness and skills will be required by practitioners to either correspond with the industry-wide technology adoption or surpass it.”
Constant investment in cybersecurity
The Institute also added that as organisations deploy more sophisticated technologies as a catalyst for improved performance, criminals and criminal organisations, by their prying eyes, also sense an opportunity. Digital transformation has therefore also created new vulnerabilities which criminal groups are quick to exploit and monetise.
“We recommend that our individual banks must consider investing a bit more into cybersecurity – for the protection of computer systems and networks from the theft of or damage to their hardware, software or electronic data, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide – including their valuable intellectual, customer data and financial assets,” the statement added.
CIB undertakes major review to stay in line with the times
To equip practitioners to keep and raise the confidence of customers, the Chartered Institute of Bankers-Ghana is aligning its Professional Education to these new mega-trends and have embarked on a major curriculum review of the Associate Banker Programme.
“We are happy to report that the process is progressing, and we are confident that the new curriculum will be implemented in 2022. The new Curriculum Review will also introduce new certification programmes which seek to certify experts who undergo training to build the required skill-sets in the delivery of banking services and other areas of prudential concern in the industry.”
To bridge the knowledge-gap of practitioners, the Institute added that it will use its Continuing Professional Development Programmes to help practitioners upskill – and where required reskill – to secure their job roles.