As part of efforts to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus on the financial services sector, the Ghana Association of Bankers has announced that it is donating GH¢10 million to government, towards the purchase of critical equipment for managing the COVID-19 pandemic and for the purposes of public education.
“This is to ensure sustainability of the industry and the economy,” the Association announced in a statement signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. D. K. Mensah.
Ghana has already recorded 27 cases of the disease with two deaths.
The Association has also asked all members to make available a common access when required to each other’s Branch Networks, ATMS, and GhIPSS platform among others, in cases of distress due to the pandemic.
In addition, all financial institutions are to make sure cash would be regularly sanitized to safeguard public health and current overnight limits will be increased to provide market liquidity to ensure that critical banking services are readily available to customers.
The Association also encouraged the public to patronize the various digital channels as it waives off internet banking charges and the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) charges for the period of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“To encourage the increased use of digital channels, the Ghana Association of Bankers shall for the period of the COVID-19 pandemic waive off Internet banking charges, charges on the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) Instant Pay (GIP), Mobile Money Interoperability which is applicable to only transfers from Ghs 100 and below excluding cash-out, and ACH Direct Credit,” the statement noted.
“To facilitate interoperability within the financial sector, member banks will work with Mobile Money service providers during the period of this crisis to put in place measures in the interest of the general public,” it added.
Though these measures will be reviewed after a period of three months, the Association states that it will continue to monitor the likely consequences of the pandemic on the banking sector and actively take steps to mitigate possible impact on customers, employees and the general public.
Ghanaian banks announce safety measures
Already, banks in the country are deploying safety measures to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus following some directives issued by the Bank of Ghana. Messages sent out to customers by the banks urged their clients to remain calm as they collaborate with major health authorities to ensure their safety.
With currency notes found to be one of the conduits for the spread of the COVID-19, Stanbic Bank in a message advised its customers to ensure they have less contact with banknotes while admonishing the use of digital channels.
According to Ecobank, “It is collaborating with key health agencies on COVID-19 to ensure your safety while you do business with us”.
The Bank of Ghana has also introduced a number of incentives to help banks and other specialized deposit taking institutions to withstand a possible impact of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.