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Bank Of Ghana To Establish Regional Monitoring Offices
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Mr Joseph Frempong-Manso, Deputy Chief Manager, Bank of Ghana (BOG), has said regional offices would be established across the country to monitor the activities and build capacities of Microfinance Institutions.

He said BOG would also educate such financial intuitions and the public on what they need to know about their affairs.

“Some do not have the license from BOG to operate and tend to collaborate with others to work; this is not helping the industry so the establishment of BOG regional offices,” Mr Frempong-Manso said in Accra on Tuesday at the first Ghana Association of Saving and Loans Companies (GHASALC) stakeholders meeting.

“We are going to [provide] sensitization programmes to the public and players in the financial sector to enlighten them on banking and its policies,” he said.

Speaking on the theme: “Including savings and Loans Companies among other Microfinance Institutions in the Operational Guidelines: Effects on Client Perception and Operational Performance of Savings and Loans”, Mr Kofi Ampofo Agyapong, President of GHASALC, said though Savings and Loans Companies constitute a key segment of Ghana’s financial sector, there were a number of challenges affecting the image, operations and sustainability of its members.

He said the main actors in the Savings and Loans arena were of the view that the lumping of Savings and Loans Companies together with other Microfinance providers was affecting the image and fortunes of their businesses given reported cases of unethical practices by some of the Microfinance providers.

“This has always created problems for all sector players but most especially to the Saving and Loans Companies due to some similarities in service provision perceived by clients of both sector categories and the public,” Mr Ampofo Agyapong said.

He said to address the concern, GHASALC commissioned a study to identify the underlying factors that was causing such misconception by the public especially when such issues were left unaddressed, would affect the profitability and further sustainability of GHASALC members.

Addressing participants from the financial sector, who comprised of heads of banking firms, Ministry of Finance and other financial services department of the BOG, among others, Mr Ernest Senyo Dzandu,  Executive Director, CDC Consult Limited, enumerated some concerns undermining the operations of Microfinance Institutions.

He said some of the concerns include: unethical practices, misuse of savings of depositors, clients lack of confidence in Microfinance Institutions; clients rating business transactions with savings and loans as very high; undifferentiated operations between  Saving and Loans Companies  and Microfinance Institutions.

Mr Dzandu said the potential effect could not be overemphasized and called on GHASALC and other stakeholders to sensitize clients, carve a distinct image for Savings and Loans subsectors, educate staff thoroughly on right policies, client financial education, strengthening of supervision, continuous engagement with regulators and Microfinance Institutions as well as continuous engagement with clients as the way forward.

Some participants who spoke to the Ghana News Agency lauded GHASALC for the dialogue with regulators and other stakeholders in its quest to address the challenges in the industry.

GHASALC has been in existence since September 5, 2008 and it objectives among others seeks to provide advocacy to its members of which 24 of them are operating in Ghana.
Source: GNA

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