Ethics in banking should be given much attention in the media just like other business issues such as revenue and profits are reported, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Julian Kingsley Opuni, has said.
“At the end of the day, of what import is growth in revenue for instance, if said growth is not attained ethically?” he said in an interview with the Ghanaian Times.
The interview was to discuss the Ghana Banking Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, its impact, and enforcement.
He admitted the media was already playing a key role in the promotion of ethics by providing the platform for in-depth discussions on ethics and regulations in banking, and carrying out investigations into issues around ethical breaches, but could do more.
“It’s a positive development for the industry and I expect the media to continue to do more in this regard to support our regulator and other stakeholders in maintaining ethical standards. There is no gainsaying the power of the media as an enabler and partner in the enforcement of the Ghana Banking Code of Ethics and Business Conduct,” he said.
In this regard, Mr Opuni suggested that the media should give visibility to ethical issues to ensure high ethical standards in the banking sector.
“The media should give positive attention to banks to ensure that they have a high level of adherence to the ethical codes of the industry and keep financial institutions on their toes by asking the tough and challenging questions that help hold us to account,” he said.
Mr Opuni said world class institutions upheld proper business conduct and ethics, and the same must apply here in Ghana.
Quizzed whether the financial ethics should be taught at all levels of higher education given the importance of the issues, the Fidelity Bank, Managing Director answered in affirmative.
“Yes, I am of the conviction that business ethics in general must be highlighted at all levels of higher education. This is because in recent times ethical considerations constitute a major aspect of recruitment criteria for most business organisations. In fact, most Human Resource Directors will attest to the trend that contemporary recruitment decisions are hinged more on candidates displaying the right attitude and an inclination towards discipline and ethical integrity,” he said.
Mr Opuni said ethics carried weight in recruitment and promotion decisions than impressive grades and qualifying certificates or even technical acumen.
He said ethics were taught, explained and practicalised during higher education, which cause a paradigm shift and expose students to the importance of ethical behavior, adding “This is imperative to their success in the world of work, especially in a highly regulated industry like banking.”
“At Fidelity Bank, we appreciate the overriding importance of ethical consciousness and consequently, in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) we have set up the Fidelity Banking Academy to provide practical training to our interns and staff on the essentials of banking as well as the ethics of the profession,” said Mr Opuni.
The Fidelity Bank in partnership with CIB had developed several modules on the Ghana Banking Code of Ethics and Business Conduct to ensure that trainees imbibe those ethics fully into their professional and personal conduct.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE