Here is how banks in Ghana are violating the rights of customers

The Bank of Ghana has released a report evaluating the compliance of banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDI’s) with its consumer protection regime.

Banks in Ghana

The findings of the report showed that commercial banks in Ghana are breaching several regulations on market conduct.

The report showed that banks are signing customers onto e-banking services and charging fees without the explicit consent of the customers.

Explaining further the report indicated over-the-counter withdrawals from savings accounts below a stated minimum amount are attracting fees.

Also, the report stated that changes to terms and conditions of loan agreements were made and implemented without the required period of prior notification to customers.

“Prior to pursuing enforcement actions on loan defaulters, the minimum prescribed notice period of 30 days was not given to some borrowers”, the report said.

All these violate the market conduct regulatory regime of the central bank.

On disclosure and Transparency requirements, the report reveals that some borrowers were not given pre-agreement disclosure statements before the signing of loan agreements.

It added that borrowers were not clearly informed of the requirement to submit their credit data to the credit bureaux as part of the loan application process.

On Data Protection, the report indicated that personal details provided by remittance customers were used for telemarketing promotional activities without the consent of individuals.

Also, “abandoned forms or slips used by customers for balance enquiries and other transactions were not properly disposed of, thereby exposing customer personal details to third parties”.

Meanwhile, some commercial banks in Ghana did not deliver on their marketing promise of disbursing certain loan facilities within 24 hours.

Additionally, most banking facilities such as banking halls and ATMs are not easily accessible to physically-challenged persons.

“There were instances where hawking activities were allowed in front of some banking halls.”

The report was conducted from November 2019 to February 2020 to ensure adequate focus on the conduct of banks and SDIs towards their customers.

The officials of the Market Conduct Office visited eight selected banks to examine the structures, systems, and processes in place to promote consumer protection and the early resolution of customer complaints.

They also assessed the general compliance with relevant market conduct rules.

The examinations covered several key areas including; Board and Management oversight of the complaints handling function, unfair banking practices; privacy and data protection issues; ambiance of banking halls; disclosure and transparency; and the content of marketing material.

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