Banking sector still strong despite shutdowns – Alhassan Andani

President of the Ghana Bankers Association Alhassan Andani has stated that Ghana’s banking sector is still strong despite current challenges confronting it. Mr. Andani made this observation while speaking at the maiden Economic Dialogue Series organized by Media General on Thursday, October 18, under the theme: ‘Investment in the Face of Ponzi Schemes: How Do we Clean the Mess?’ According to the Stanbic Bank boss, the banking sector is still thriving and that banks are going about their businesses normally and making profits. In the past year, activities of some banks have had to be suspended due to they flouting some banking rules, including some not having the right licenses to operate. Mr. Andani insists the sector is doing well, regardless. “The good thing is that the banks are strong; the banking sector in Ghana is absolutely strong. This is to say all of the issues in the industry doesn’t impact 10% of our sector, and there hasn’t been any real systemic impact. “That is to say, household deposits, companies’ ability to borrow, and the need to move funds both internally and externally is still very safe and growing,” Mr. Andani noted. Addressing the issue of Ponzi schemes and institutions that to do not adhere to directives from regulators within the banking sector, Mr. Andani cautioned the general public to be vigilant in dealing with some of these ‘false’ institutions. “I have what we call the five-minute rule in investment, and that, if anybody explains any kind of investment to you in five minutes, and you do not understand it, it is fraudulent. “If you are not convinced in five minutes, if the person takes more than five minutes to convince you, take it from me, it is fraudulent,” Alhassan Andani warned. The President of the Ghana Bankers Association also emphasized the role banks play in boosting the economy. He cited examples of how some very strong economies around the world were brought down to their knees as a result of some banking crisis. “We are the chameleon that sits in the middle of the economy reflecting every activity. We reflect schools and their activities, we reflect government and their aspirations, we reflect corporate companies and their expectations, so we are the reasonable middle. “When we fail as we are doing right now, there is a real quiver in the country,” he added. Mr.Andani assured that the banking sector will get better after recent happenings. He also expressed worry of how some banks have resolved to be mediocre in their operations just because they are local firms. “There is something in this country we have to get rid of. We think that it is okay, if you are local, to be mediocre.  We should not accept that…”

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Banking sector and ‘bigmanism’ Mr Andani raised issues with how there are too many big men in the country, and called for the situation to be dealt with. “So those of us who have the privilege of being called big men, should be of good character, because we are the foundation on which societies are built,” he charged. According to him, some of these big men interfere with certain duties of regulators, and this hinders the banking sector amongst other areas of the economy. Media General’s Economic Dialogue Series is an initiative by the business desk of the media group to hold discussions on issues bordering on the economy, as well as proffer solutions to boost economic growth. By Irene Amesimeku|| Ghana]]>