RCBs should be ready for regulatory reforms – Banking expert

In the face of ongoing reforms within the regulatory environment of the banking industry, Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) will have to plan toward the looming changes, rural banking expert Mr. Joseph Akossey has advised.

In recent communications regarding the state of the financial sector, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has indicated that some regulatory reforms will take place in the course of this year.

The development, seen as part of efforts to streamline the industry, is hoped to restore confidence in the industry while also getting rid of weaker institutions.

Among some of the expected reforms is the Basel II / III Supervisory Framework; implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS 9); and strict enforcement of the Fit and Proper Guidelines for Shareholders, Directors and Key Management Personnel of Banks and SDIs.

Others include enforcement of the Prudential Requirements by the Banking and Supervision Department; implementation of the Deposit Insurance Scheme under the Ghana Deposit Protection Act 2016, Act 931, among others.

Mr. Akossey said: “Rural and Community Banks should do their utmost best to comply with rules of the game concerning the banking business”.

He observed it is important that reorganisation of the banking industry happens once in a while; and in view of this, implored RCBs to shun poor banking practices in order to not fall foul of the law.

The Head of Proven Trusted Solutions, a marketing research firm, who was speaking in an interview at a sales training programme for field cashiers of the Adansi Rural Bank, also called on RCBs to adopt effective marketing strategies in order to improve the performance of their ‘susu’ product.

The sales training programme focused, among other things, on key qualities of an effective field cashier; deposit mobilisation strategies; wining new customers; effective handling of customer complaints; and susu deposit retention strategies.

Mr. Akossey particularly noted that the market growth rate of the susu product is high, hence the need to take advantage of it. “The susu product should be managed well, so as to be able to turn it into a cash-cow within the RCB’s product portfolios”.

To achieve this, he explained, susu as a product should be given the needed attention in view of the required investment – and more importantly, the right persons with good selling skills should be employed for it.

Mobile bankers, he advised, should be regularly taken through training to enhance and deepen their operational competence.

“They should also diversify their product portfolio by introducing innovative products for the Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs).”

He said this has become necessary because, with introduction of the Ghana Reference Rate by the BoG, interest on salary loans charged by the universal banks is likely to drop. This situation, he cautioned, will have an adverse effect on the market share of salary loans given by RCBs.