‘BoG’s directive to stop charges on savings accounts challenging’ – Bankers Association

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The Ghana Association of Bankers says it largely welcomes the Bank of Ghana’s directives to banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking institutions to stop a number of fees and charges slapped on customers for some services rendered.

The Association is however unhappy with the instruction for the financial institutions to stop deducting maintenance charges on savings accounts.

Speaking to Citi News, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association, John Awuah, justified the charges on savings accounts, explaining that some savings accounts are technically operated like current accounts.

“The target is not even the banking industry. It has to do with other participants in the financial system. It is, for this reason, we support largely, not entirely, the cancellation of some charges. We need to treat the customers fairly.”‘

“Savings accounts are not meant for daily withdrawals. But, we see people link their MoMo wallets to it, use ATMs for withdrawing money from the account, etc. This makes the accounts lose their character. What the banks are saying is that, in cases where customers use accounts designated for investments as current accounts, they are to be levied accordingly. To that extent, we have a bit of a challenge,” he explained.

The Central Bank in a statement on Friday, June 18, 2021, directed banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking institutions to desist from implementing seven different fees and charges, and also stop engaging in some practices that do not auger well for the banking sector.

The fees and charges, and practices which are identified by the central bank as unfair include, Credit Insurance Premium Overcharges, Maintenance Fees on Savings Account, among others, Over the Counter (OTC) Withdrawal Charges as well as the requirement by some banks for borrowers to make them part owners in some assets they present for use as collateral for loans.

A Banking consultant, Dr. Akwasi Atuahene, has urged the Bank of Ghana to take action against financial institutions that fail to implement these new directives.

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