Rural Banks build capacity in fraud prevention

The Association of Rural Banks (ARB) has organized a four-day capacity building workshop on risk management and fraud prevention for staff of selected rural and community banks (RCBs) drawn from across the country in Kasoa in the Central Region.

About 40 participants in managerial functions in various fields of operation including audit, human resources and IT were empowered on sound risk management practices and how to handle the threat of fraud in their respective institutions.

The training programme was held in collaboration Microfin Consult and RIMCS Consult—a consortium of microfinance and risk management experts—and with funding from the German development agency, GIZ.

National President of the ARB, Daniel OheneKwekuOwusu, in his opening remarks, indicated that the training programme was timely and appropriate considering recent happenings within the country’s financial landscape and underscored the need for RCBs to build capacity in the areas of fraud prevention and guarding against the risks of cyber security.

He said the increasing reliance on information communications technology in the banking business calls for adequate security protection arrangements that will enable RCBs to mitigate the risks of fraud and other malfeasances within the financial space.

“It is pertinent for businesses and institutions, in this case RCBs, to remain abreast with the ever-changing technology, both in machinery, procedures and processes, to remain effective and efficient so as to cut costs, increase productivity and enhance profitability,” he indicated.

Mr. Owusu averred that poor risk management practices that have given rise to outrageous insider dealings and other inordinate investment schemes within the universal banking space have taken a huge toll on the operations of RCBs, especially in the areas of deposit mobilization and loan recoveries.

He added: “We expect this training to equip participants with basic understanding of risk and fraud associated with the banking business to enable them develop appropriate measures to mitigate any underlying undesirable consequences in a strategic manner.”

One of the facilitators for the training programme, Ishmael KwesiOtchere, told the B&FT in an interview that it was prudent for RCBs to deploy efficient risk management and fraud prevention mechanisms in their operations since banking is all about managing assets and liabilities efficiently.

“The changing trends in the banking sector, specifically the rural banking business, requires RCBs to reposition to better meet the needs of the industry considering the fact that they are custodians of people’s deposits,” he said.

He added: “This training programme will strengthen the capacity of managers of RCBs in their control and management of fraudulent practices in their respective banks.”

Cynthia Odonkor, GIZ’s Technical Adviser, Financial Systems Development (FSD) of the Programme for Sustainable Economic Development (PSED), indicated in her remarks that the four-day training will empower participants to be proactive to happenings in the financial sector and to put in place relevant structures to operate efficiently.

“We expect participants to practicalise what they have learned in their various institutions and ensure they have in place the necessary structure to avoid the collapse of their banks,” she noted.

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