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Finance & InvestmentSun, 17 Sep, 23

BOG BOSS Calls For The Entrenchment Of Ethical Behavior In The Conduct Of Banking Sector Operations

BOG BOSS Calls For The Entrenchment Of Ethical Behavior In The Conduct Of Banking Sector Operations

The governer of the Bank of Ghana Dr. Ernest Adison has outlined measures that would help build what he calls a more 'sustainable and trustworthy financial industry'.

Delivering the key note address at the launch of the 60th anniverssary of Charted Institue of Bankers, Ghana Dr. Adison said the chosen theme for the CIB’s 60th Anniversary celebration, which is, Redefining professionalism in banking through ethics” provides a unique opportunity to rethink the core measures would help build the industry.

  • prioritize ethical leadership at all levels. This means the boards, executives, and

line managers should set the tone at the top by adhering to high ethical standards

and then promoting those same standards throughout the organization,

  • invest in ethics training and education for all employees. This means bank staff

must understand the importance of ethical behaviour, the consequences of unethical

actions, and how to make ethical decisions in complex situations,

  • develop clear and comprehensive codes of conduct that outline expected

behaviours and ethical guidelines for all employees. These codes should be readily

accessible and regularly updated to reflect changing industry standards and

regulations,

  • establish robust whistle-blower protection programmes that are well-publicised

within the institution and easy to access, to encourage employees to report unethical

behaviour without fear of retaliation,

  • promote transparency in financial transactions and decision-making processes.

Individuals must be held accountable for their actions and decisions, and unethical

conduct must be promptly addressed and rectified,

  • incorporate sustainability and responsible banking principles into their

operations. Considerations of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG)

must be factored into investment and lending decisions to promote long-term

economic and social stability. Here, I would take this opportunity to encourage

banks to ensure compliance with the Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles,

  • strictly adhere to regulatory requirements and collaborate with regulators to

maintain a strong and well-regulated financial industry, supported by higher ethical

standards,

  • reward ethical behaviour through performance evaluations and incentives. Banks

should recognize and promote employees who consistently demonstrate ethical

conduct and contribute to the organization's ethical culture,

  • regularly evaluate and update ethical frameworks and practices. Ethical standards

should evolve in response to changing societal values, technological advancements,

and emerging risks; and, most importantly,

  • consider the interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees,

customers, and the broader society, when making business decisions. Ethical

banking recognizes the interconnectedness of these stakeholders' interests.

citing the global financial crisis in 2008 and the banking crisis that hit Ghana not long ago, as a reflection of the poor ethical values, based on weak governance structures and internal controls, highlighted the need for renewed emphasis on ethics and responsible behaviour in the banking sector.  A key lesson drawn from the crisis, is that  'lack of ethical standards within the banking sector puts all stakeholders at risk, especially shareholders and depositors, and ultimately destabilises the entire financial sector, with spillovers on the economy''. he added.

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