The President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG), Professor K.B. Omane-Antwi admonished banks operating in the country to move out of their comfort zone and create innovative products for the informal sector to prevent dubious microfinance institutions from misapplying funds of unsuspecting customers.
Recently, the Bank of Ghana has appealed to Ghanaians to desist from transacting businesses with microfinance institutions that promise huge returns on deposits, and save with traditional banks that quote realistic interest rates.
Speaking at the launch of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) Ghana, Professor Omane-Antwi noted that the central bank cannot be solely blamed since the banks have not provided creative products for the informal sector.
“I always say that the easiest job to do in Ghana today is to be a banker. They sit there people bring their money and they start taking commission without thinking of strategic issues”, he said.
According to him, traders and business owners in the informal sector have a lot of funds that the banks could mobilize to lend out as credit at a low cost.
“Look at the amount of money that got misappropriated in Sunyani and all those areas, it is an indication that the informal sector has a lot of money. Those people will go to places where they are lured to gain huge returns. The banks must develop better products and educate the people to accept it”, he said in reference to the debacle that hit the micro-finance sector leading to loss of funds.
Professor Omane-Antwi maintained that banks must intensify financial literacy in the informal sector since stakeholders in the sector are discerning and will invest in products that bring reasonable returns.
The Executive Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management –Ghana, Mr. Agyepong Amo explained that the institute is a professional body created in accordance with the Professional Bodies registraction Act, 1973 on July 4, 2014.
The mandate of the institute, Mr. Amo stated that the CICM provides credit management resources, education and certification to its members and is the only professional body that grants official designations to credit management professionals in Ghana.
He pointed out that the institute covers areas in banking credit, trade credit, consumer credit export credit, credit insurance, credit information, and debt administration.
“We aim to provide the catalyst for development of competent and more qualified human resources that will enable financial institutions to offer efficient and competitive services to meet modern day demands”, he said.