Commit to professionalism to ensure high standards in banking

Mr. Osei Gyasi, Head of Banking Supervision at Bank of Ghana, urged banking staff to not only be ethical but also committed to professionalism to ensure high banking standards.

He said that while ethical banks encourage transparency and help establish sound principles and ideals to govern financial flows, personal commitment to professionalism could lead to honesty and fairness.

Mr. Gyasi said so at the 26th National Conference on Banking in Accra by the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), on the theme: “The Future of Banking in Ghana: Ethics, Professionalism and ESG Imperatives”.

The conference aimed to highlight what the future looks like and how practitioners could navigate, survive and thrive amid the current disruptive challenges facing the banking industry and national economy.

“Banking should be built on trust, professionalism requires all individuals in the banking industry to work honestly and fairly to help protect the interests of customers, shareholders,” he said.

Mr Gyasi, who represented Dr Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said bankers needed to develop their personal code of ethics, self-monitoring strategies to maintain “unquestioned personal integrity”.

He said that the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct by itself could not be effective by official announcement, however, conscious observance and application of the boundaries and high ethical standards would bring the desired result.

The head of banking supervision said the CIB has a mandate to ensure that members of the industry exercise due diligence and put the public interest first.

He also urged banks to make environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks an integral part of sustainable finance as they impact banks’ profitability and liquidity.

He said the accessibility of the ESG Fund is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Gyasi said banks could unlock opportunities to access international projects if they help Ghana achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through responsible investment.

ESG has become a very important tool for measuring performance in the financial sector.

For investors, ESG is the act of financing companies that demonstrate a positive impact on the environment, support their stakeholders, and demonstrate ethical leadership and good governance.

Professor Noel Tagoe, finance and strategy consultant, who presented on “Navigating Economic Crisis in the Banking Sector”, said the current crisis presented banks with an opportunity to accelerate and deepen their much needed transformation.

He said banks should cater to their customers according to the category they fall into.

“Customers who are not cash-rich, banks should help them survive short-term pressure: and help businesses survive short-term pressure and seek new avenues of growth,” said the Professor Tagoe.

Mr. Robert Dzato, Managing Director of CIB, told the Ghana News Agency that it is imperative that banks understand ESG and know what it means.

“And more importantly, the opportunities it presents, the social and governance environment. It’s clear from today’s presentations that there are opportunities for banks,” he said.

The CEO said their role was to ensure they educated and started training bankers on ESG while stepping up training on ethics and professionalism.

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