Business News of 2014-01-08

Third party over the counter threshold commendable - Banks

Some commercial banks in Accra have commended Bank of Ghana (BoG) for tightening and fixing third party over-the-counter threshold at GH¢5,000 to protect customers, banks and third parties.

The banks, including Ghana Commercial Bank, Barclays Bank and Zenith Bank, in separate interviews with Ghana News Agency (GNA), described the directive as a protective measure to reduce fraudulent activities against customers and the level of physical cash in the system.

The Head of Corporate Affairs of Barclays Bank, Mrs Shola Safo-Duodu, told the GNA that the bank stood to benefit from the new directive as it would enable it to develop more products to help generate income.

She advised the business community to develop the culture of transacting 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 for easier business transaction.

Mrs Safo-Duodu endorsed the BoG’s suggestion to customers to use 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.

“The use of Internet or e-banking solutions would help reduce fraudulent activities,” she said.

The Chief Operating Officer of the Ghana Commercial Bank, Mr Kodjo Addae-Mensah, 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.

According to him, the directive by BOG would also have a 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 customers needed to be educated and all Ghanaians had to be encouraged to have a bank account in order to prevent the situation of handling bulk cash.

The BoG has 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.

Mr George Mensah, a customer at Zenith Bank's headquarters branch, told the GNA: “I came in to deposit money at 11:30 a.m. and finished at 11:37 a.m., this is not normal, I hope that such a situation will continue.”

Ms Sandra Annan emphasised 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.

Source: GNA
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