Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison has charged banks in the country to continuously stress-test their institutions under different scenarios to ensure they are ready when unforeseen risks occur.
Unlike other sectors that suffered considerable losses, the financial sector has remained relatively stable in the face of the pandemic.
While touting the positive impact of some of the measures the Central Bank introduced in the aftermath of the identification of the Coronavirus in Ghana, the governor of the Central Bank Dr. Ernest Addison as part of his keynote address during a webinar organized by the Ghana Association of Bankers on the topic ‘Managing Banking Risks in Uncertain Times – Covid-19 Test Case’, highlighted some key risks that must be efficiently managed by banks to prevent any unintended consequences.
“The positive results notwithstanding, we must admit that the pandemic has also introduced several risks in the banking sector. Let me highlight three major risks that the pandemic either unearthed or intensified, which must be efficiently managed by banks to avoid any unintended consequences on the industry. These are cyber security risks, credit risks, and operational risks. Although the pandemic boosted the move towards digital transactions and financial inclusion, it also brought in its wake a heightened sense of cyber-attacks within the sector.”
On the point of Cyber security risks, Dr. Addison said all steps must be taken to protect the gains made so far.
“The welcomed drive towards more digitization has heightened cyber risks and fraud, and therefore calls for effective cyber risk management policies and procedures by banks. The Bank of Ghana expects all banks to build robust systems to forestall such cyber security incidences. All the successes chalked in the digitization of banking systems would be eroded if adequate investments are not made for effective protection of the information technology and security infrastructure. In this regard, the Bank has issued directives and guidelines such as the Cyber Security Directive that banks must meet on an on-going basis to effectively manage cyber risk and fraud.”
The Governor went on to further entreat all banks in the country to stress test their systems to enable them prepare for possible shocks.
“To further build our defences against the pandemic, I would encourage the GAB to continuously engage industry players to collectively strengthen their operational resilience in these times. From supervisory perspective, I would entreat the various risk managers to continuously stress-test your banks under different extreme but plausible scenarios to enable you contain possible risks that may emanate from the COVID-induced uncertainties.”