Business News of 2014-01-07

Banks commend third party over-the-counter threshold

Scores of commercial banks in Accra on Monday commended Bank of Ghana for tightening and fixing third party over-the-counter threshold at GHC5,000.00.
According to the central bank, the new limit is aimed at protecting customers, banks and third parties.
The banks including Ghana Commercial Bank, Barclays Bank, Zenith Bank in separate interviews with Ghana News Agency described the directive as a protective measure to reduce fraudulent activities against customers and the level of physical cash in the system.
Mrs Shola Safo-Duodu, Head of Corporate Affairs of Barclays Bank told the GNA that the bank stands to benefit from the new directive as it will enable it to develop more products, to help generate income.
She advised the business community to develop the culture of transaction business with cheques and reduce the usage of large cash.
She also urged customers to encourage third party agents to open accounts with the bank to for easier business transaction.
Mrs Safo-Duodu endorsed BoG’s suggestion to customers in using payment instruments and products such as cards for transaction.
She noted that the directive would reduce the level of fiscal cash in the system, which would encourage customers to use other monetary transaction instruments and digital means of banking.
“Banks have put in place banking systems to reduce fiscal cash in the system,’’ she added.
She said banking was evolving quickly and that when it came to banking transactions using other digital means, one could access and transfer money from his account using the internet if all banks were connected.
The use of internet or the e -banking solutions would help reduce fraudulent activities, she said.
Mr Kojo Addae-Mensah , Chief Operating Officer, Ghana Commercial Bank told the GNA that the directive was a positive initiative for anyone who wanted to reduce a cash heavy society as well as financial malfeasance.
He called for education of the general public especially the rural community for them to understand the system and the rationale behind the directive to be able to fully embrace it.
According to him the directive by BOG would also have positive impact on the GCB since it would push its customers to deal with less cash as well as non- cash instruments like debit cards, credit cards, cheques, internet banking and swift transfers.
Mr Addae-Mensah said that customers needed to be educated to encouraged all Ghanaians to have a bank account in order to prevent the situation of handling bulk cash.
He said the GCB would support the Central Bank to ensure that the directive was successful.
The Bank of Ghana had asked banks to pay up to GH¢ 5,000 to third parties who present cheques to them.
This new limit is half the previous GH¢ 10,000 limit issued by the Central Bank in July, 2013.
The directive took effect from January 1, 2014, and does not apply to third party cheques that are presented for the credit of an account through clearing.
The directive, however, does not also apply where the payee is the drawer of the cheque.
The Bank of Ghana is also encouraging customers of banks to use payment instruments and products such as cards and mobile money for transaction.
Meanwhile, GNA observed during the rounds that transactions at most banks were smooth.
Mr George Mensah, a customer at Zenith Bank's Head Quarters branch told the GNA; “I came in to deposit money at 11:30am and finished at 11:37am, this is not normal, I hope that such a situation will continue”.
Ms Sandra Annan emphasised on the fact that business transaction was moving fast though the banking hall was choked with customers.
Mr Larry Bulla, a GCB customer at the SSNIT Branch indicated that the place was full with customers but the transaction was swift as compared to previous days.