Digital and electronic banking hold the key to the future of banking globally and combating the spread of the novel Coronavirus, the Managing Director (MD) of Ecobank Ghana and Regional Executive for the Anglophone West Africa Region, Mr Dan Sackey, has said.
He explained that digital and electronic banking were fast and secure and provided great convenience for customers while minimising the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Speaking during a virtual forum yesterday to engage customers and the public on the effects of COVID-19 on health in Africa as well as on individuals and businesses, Mr Sackey advised the public to use electronic channels for payments, funds transfer and other routine banking transactions, instead of physically visiting the bank.
Held virtually via Facebook Live and YouTube, the forum attracted hundreds of participants, in real-time, with many shares and downloads of the event, was organised by Ecobank in partnership with the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The public and Ecobank customers asked how they could cope with the current situation and continue with banking transactions as well as engage the bank in this era of the Coronavirus pandemic and also enquired about precautionary measures that the bank had put in place to ensure customer safety and what the future or a post-COVID-19 era would look like.
Mr Sackey outlined some of the measures that Ecobank had put in place, as advised by recognised health agencies, to ensure the safety of staff, customers and stakeholders.
He also informed customers about Ecobank's digital channels, including the mobile and various online banking services.
Mr Sackey stressed that the Ecobank Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) could facilitate cash withdrawal and deposit and the Ecobank Xpress Points, which provided basic banking needs and were available in over 1,500 community-based shops in Ghana.
The Africa Director of CDC, Dr John Nkengasong cautioned participants to refrain from self-medication, as this could worsen their health conditions, especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
He warned participants not to take chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 without their doctor's prescription because of the severe consequences, including deaths.
"As much as possible people should stay home, exercise regularly, eat well, drink lots of fluids, and take adequate amounts of relevant vitamins. This will boost their immune system and prepare the body to fight diseases," Dr Nkengasong advised.
The African Director of CDC, who traced the history of pandemics, indicated that over the years, the world has witnessed one major pandemic every century, citing the Great Plague of Marseille in 1720, the Asian cholera outbreak in 1820, the Spanish flu in 1920 and now the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The Regional Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Ecobank, Mrs Rita Tsegah said the objective of the forum was to educate customers and the public strategies to "adapt to the changing times," and the measures initiated by the bank to fight COVID-19.
"Ecobank remains resolute to discharging its obligation by collaborating with partners that are committed to mitigating the impact of COVID-19," she said.