‘Revise restrictions on cheque clearing’

Wampah PixThe Ghana Association of Savings and Loans Companies (GHASALC), has expressed concern about the restriction by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) on Savings and Loans Companies not to transact cheque clearing services and foreign currency transfer.

Such restrictions, the association said, was impacting negatively on their operations.

Currently with the membership capacity of 28 companies, GHASALC holds 5.7 per cent of total assets of the 11 per cent of total financial sector assets.

Speaking to the Times Business on the sidelines of the GHASALC Chief Executive Officers Business Roundtable Discussion in Accra, the President of GHASALC, Dr Emmanuel O. Owusu said although, both the banking and non-bank financial institutions were regulated by the Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673), only the universal banks were allowed to engage in check clearing as well as foreign currency transfers outside the country.

The discussion was on the theme: “The role and challenges of savings and loans companies and how they impact on the financial sector in Ghana.”

He said members of GHASALC could not transfer funds to their foreign partners and had to do such transactions with some partner foreign banks.

Dr. Owusu further disclosed that most members of the association were losing their customers to the traditional banks because they could not render check clearing services.

“GHASALC cannot fathom why it cannot perform services prescribed by the law regulating banking and non-banking financial institutions, which other industry players are providing,” he queried.

He, therefore, called on the BoG to take a second look at the Banking Act to create a level playing field for both the universal banks and savings and loans Companies.

Dr. Owusu was also worried about the exorbitant business operating license charged by the metropolitan and municipal and district assemblies and appealed to the BoG to intervene.

Mr. Mike Nyinaku, CEO  of Beige Capital, the sponsors of the programme, speaking on the topic,  “Challenges facing the savings and loans companies,” said the capital base of some of the savings and loans companies were more than GH¢100 million and did not understand why they could not engage foreign currency transfer services.

He stressed the need for the BoG rules to be revised to serve the needs of the savings and loans companies.

First Deputy Governor of the BoG, Mr Millison Narh in a speech read on his behalf entreated the savings and loans companies to put strategies in place to reach the unbanked.

To this end, Mr Narh called on the savings and loans companies to adopt technological systems and employ the use of tools of branchless and mobile financial services to reach the unbanked.

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