The Association of Rural Banks (ARB) Ghana has inaugurated a Nationwide training workshop on Risk Management and Fraud Prevention, with a four-day workshop for Board members, Management and Staff of member Banks in the Southern Zone on Monday April 15, 2019 at Kasoa in the Central Region.

It is the first workshop in series of five, earmarked for Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) in the Southern Zone which comprises of Western, Central, Eastern, Greater-Accra and Volta Regions. These five series workshop will also be replicated in all the other Zones of the Association across Ghana.

The Training which was initiated with support from the German Cooperation (GIZ), Microfin and RIMCS Consult, is intended to bridge the effective risk management and cyber security alertness gap amongst RCBs and also equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to protect their image as well as their customers.

The workshop will commence with Pre-assessment which includes an introduction and general background, overview of Risk management and Fraud Prevention, Types of Generic Risk and Fraud. On day one Risk and Fraud specific to RCBs and ICT and Cyber Risk Management are the main thematic areas for deliberations.

Day two of the workshop will engage participants in Risk Management and Fraud Prevention Framework, and day three will give insights into developing Risk Register for RCBs while day four will furnish participants with in-depth into Risk and Fraud Prevention Policy.

The training workshop is designed to equip participants with basic understanding of fraud and risk associated with in banking business and to develop appropriate measures to mitigate any principal undesirable consequences in a strategic manner.

The opening ceremony began with an introduction of both the organizers and the participants. Mrs. Comfort Owusu, the Executive Director of the Association of Rural Banks Ghana welcomed all and sundry to the programme and thanked the German Cooperation(GIZ) for their support in making the training a reality.

Mrs. Comfort Owusu, Executive Director of ARB giving the welcome address.

The Technical Advisor, Programme for Sustainable Economic Development (PSED) of GIZ, Madam Cynthia Odonkor, in her short message to participants, urged them to apply all the skills and knowledge they will acquire through these training sessions to improve their various banks.

Madam Cynthia Odonkor of GIZ delivering a brief message.

Mr. Ismael Akwesi Otchere, Chief Executive Officer of Microfin Consult and consultant for the four-day event emphasized that, training in risk and Fraud management is timely to avert some of the major challenges that some universal banks could not control and ended up having their licenses revoked by Bank of Ghana.

Mr. Ismael Akwesi Otchere, CEO of Microfin Consult giving his address.

In his opening address, the National President of the Association of Rural Banks, Mr. D.O.K. Owusu, bemoaned the chaos in the Ghanaian financial sector which led to the revocation of licenses of seven universal banks and lack of customer confidence in most financial institutions in the country.

Mr. D.O.K Owusu, National President of ARB delivering the opening address.

He attributed this to low capitalization, poor management practices, poor Credit Management, misrepresentation of facts on the existence of capital funds resulted in the awful violation of prudential norms in respect of Capital Adequacy Ratio, Non-performing Loans, Liquidity, Solvency as well as statutory and operational issues.

These factors, Mr. Owusu explained, is a clear indication of effective risk management deficit within the jurisdictions of basic generic risks and cyber security risks is currently a massive emerging force in fraudulent practices.

“The increasing reliance on information Technology into banking business worldwide, calls for adequate security protection arrangements to mitigate fraudulent schemes including hacking, virus dissemination, phishing and identity fund. I fervently consider the organization of this training program as timely and opportune to address the necessary skills and knowledge updates to protect the dwindling integrity of the banking sector”, he stated.

The National President, of the Association advised that, although he considers the training content as potent and relevant, it should be devoid of abstract theories that has no connection to practice. “I charge facilitators to tailor their money presentation on risk management to fall in tandem with the definition given by Wikipedia as: Risk management is the identification, evaluation and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events or to minimize the realization of opportunities” he emphasized.

Mr. Owusu concluded that the dynamic nature of technology easily renders business procedures outdated and operations inefficient and non-competitive. It is therefore important for banking institutions to remain abreast with technological dynamism which transcends into productivity and profitability.

“I firmly believe that this training would impact the desired knowledge and skills to promote improvements in the operations of participating Rural and Community Banks” he concluded.

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