Financial institutions have been urged to carry out thorough background checks on prospective employees before their engagement to stop the recruitment of criminals into the banking sector. The Director of Financial Stability of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Joe France, who made the call, said that was necessary to help the banks build a reputation of integrity for themselves in the minds of their customers who would not then be afraid of placing their money in the care of the banks.
“Though the human resource of an institution is its greatest asset, this human resource can bring you down in a minute; one employee can bring a whole company down and you will never be able to come back,” he pointed out.
Dr France was speaking at the launch of a product, Emp-Verify, an employee verification platform that will serve as a repository for employee work, criminal, education and address history, in Accra yesterday.
Developed by a private company, GAVAC Business Solutions, the platform provides employers with an access to data on prospective employees to allow them to make an informed decision when recruiting.
Dr France said: “You can have the best employee doing wonderfully well but if he does not have integrity, you are doomed; it is for that reason that we need to get to sieve out the right persons at the on-boarding stage to man our institutions.”
He emphasised that at a time when majority of digital fraud happening in the banking space came from employees, no employers could afford not to carry out background checks on the people they hire.
Dr France reiterated that the capacity of financial institutions to demonstrate the strongest integrity in their day-to-day operations would help to instil confidence in their customers and motivate them to place their money in the banks’ care without any fear.
He, however, pointed out that failure to exhibit such integrity could make it very difficult for banks to win the trust of the people.
On the role the BoG was playing to enhance public trust in the financial sector, Dr France said the central bank was making every effort to harmonise the activities of all the financial institutions to ensure integrity.
“Fortunately, Ghana has subjected itself to the second round of mutual evaluation and for that matter we have been able to exude some confidence except in some grey areas that all of us will need to handle,” he said and called for collaboration among stakeholders in the sector.
Dr France commended GAVAC Business Solutions for coming up with a new product that would make employee data easily available to address problems in the financial industry and the country as a whole, noting that the product would also help in building behavioural integrity.
Background checks critical
The Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mrs Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, corroborated that most of the fraud emerging from the financial sector involved employees of banks.
She said although the police were able to make arrests out of the 90 per cent of the reported fraud cases, the inability of some banks to provide credible evidence to aid investigations had undermined the police’s ability to put such suspected criminals before court to face sanctions.
“At the end of the day, we are able to arrest but unable to send people to court for them to be committed.
This means we do not have anything that serves as demotivation for others not to commit crime,” she said.
She, therefore, urged banks to conduct proper background checks on potential employees prior to their engagement.
The President of the Private Enterprise Federation, Nana Osei Bonsu, who chaired the function, acknowledged that while the best asset of every business was its human resource, he said employers needed to go all out to verify the background of prospective employees in order not to create risk for their businesses.
The Chief Executive Officer of GAVAC Business Solution, Mr Harry Baiden, for his part, expressed optimism that the new product would provide employers with a one-stop access to employees’ data and help curb the risk criminal employees posed to their organisations.