Mr Osei Gyasi, Head of Banking Supervision at Bank of Ghana, has urged banking staff not only to uphold ethics but also commit to professionalism to ensure high banking standards.
He said though ethical banking encouraged transparency and help build strong principles and ideals to govern financial inflows, personal commitment to professionalism could lead to honesty and fairness.
Mr Gyasi said this at the 26th National Banking Conference 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 sought to bring to the fore what the future looked like and how practitioners could navigate, survive and thrive amid the current disruptive challenges facing the banking sector and the national economy.
“Banking should be built on trust and confidence, professionalism demands that all individuals in the banking sector work in an honest and fair manner to help protect the interest of customers, shareholders,” he said.
Mr Gyasi, who represented Dr Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said bankers had to develop their personal code of ethics, self-policing strategies to maintain “unquestioned personal integrity.”
He said code of ethics and professional conduct by themselves could not be effective by official announcement, however, conscious observance and enforcement of boundaries and high ethical standards would bring the expected outcome.
The Head of Banking Supervision said the CIB had the mandate to ensure that members in the industry exercised due diligence and put public interest first.
He also urged the banks to make Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks an integral part of sustainable finance since they impact banks profitability and liquidity.
He said accessibility of the ESG Fund was geared towards reducing greenhouse emissions.
Mr Gyasi said banks could unlock opportunities to access international projects if they assist Ghana to attain Sustainable Development Goals through responsible investments.
ESG has become a very important tool to measure performance in the financial sector.
For investors, ESG is the act of funding businesses that demonstrate positive impact on the environment, support their stakeholders and demonstrate ethical leadership and good governance.
Professor Noel Tagoe, Finance and Strategy Consultant, who did a presentation on “Navigating Economic Crisis in the Banking Sector” said the current crisis provided the banks opportunity to accelerate and deepen their much-needed transformation.
He said banks should respond to their customers according to the category in which they fall.
“Customers who are not cash rich, the banks should support them to survive the short-term pressure and support firms to survive short-term pressure and look for new growth paths,” Prof Tagoe said.
Mr Robert Dzato, Chief Executive Officer, CIB, told the Ghana News Agency, that it was imperative for the banks to understand ESG and know what it meant.
“And more importantly the opportunities it presents; the social, governance environment. Clearly from today’s presentations there are opportunities for banks,” he said.
The CEO said their role was to ensure that they educated and had started training of bankers in ESG whilst intensifying the training in ethics and professionalism.