The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revised its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Technology (CFT) guidelines to make it relevant and respond to current needs, Governor Dr Ernest Addison has said.
The move, he said, was to promote local and international confidence in the Ghanaian banking sector.
Speaking at the 2020 annual dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers Ghana on the theme “Resilience in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and outlook for the sector,” he said the European Union recently listed Ghana among countries with strategic deficiencies in its AML/CFT regimes.
“This listing although does not lead to any sanctions or restrictions in trade relations, can have serious consequences to the financial sector, including a higher level of due diligence from correspondent banks on their Ghanaian respondent banks and the de-risking which could disengage us from the international financial system,” he said.
The Governor explained that the new guidelines would pave way for prompt remedial actions to improve resilience and confidence in the Ghanaian sector.
He said the new guidelines had introduced a sanction regime, increased sensitisation and established a regulatory forum to boost correspondent banking relations and general health of the financial system.
Dr Addison said the BoG had intensified surveillance of the financial system to identify potential systemic risks and market breaches.
“We call upon the governing boards and management of banks to do their part and stay in compliance within the country’s AML/CFT laws and regulations,” he said.
Dr Addison said the continued cyber security threat to the banking sector had become more critical with the advent of COVID-19 and the switch to more technology based financial services delivery.
He disclosed that the Bank was preparing directives to regulate unclaimed balances and consumer protection requirements for digital financial services and products.
Dr Addison indicated that the Bank had continued to monitor these developments and enforce standards that adequately protected consumers and promoted public confidence.
He said in the year under review, BoG had resolved several customer complaints, conducted onsite and offsite examination exercises to enforce guidelines on recourse mechanisms and transparency, increased financial literacy programmes to help consumers navigate through the pandemic, and reviewed innovative products to ensure its compliance with market conduct standards.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE