Commercial Law Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Clement Akapame, has called on the Bank of Ghana (BoG), to as a matter of priority, establish an Independent Financial Services Complaint Commission (IFSCC) which will serve as an ombudsman receiving and dealing with complaints of customers of banks.

The Law Lecturer made the call when he delivered via Zoom, the 7th lecture of the fourteen (14) week-long “Law and Ethics Web Series”, under the theme “Covid-19 and banking Business”, on Wednesday the 17th of June 2020. The online seminar is organized jointly by the African Centre on Law and Ethics (ACLE) and the African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ), both based at the GIMPA Faculty of Law.

According to Mr. Akapame, inaction on the part of the customer complaints unit within the Bank of Ghana structure in dealing with the concerns of customers of banks forms the basis for his call for an independent body to be tasked to deal with same.

“One of the problems that has plagued our banking system is customer complaints. Sitting in the BoG is the system for dealing with customer complaints. The BoG we know, set up this customer recourse mechanism guidelines to deal with customer complaints. This market conduct office sits in the BoG, however, I am proposing that we should use this Covid period to set up an Independent Financial Services Complaint Commission, independent of the BoG because if the BoG is regulating and you are requiring us to report those you regulate to you, that certainly is a problem” Lawyer Akapame intimated.

“From the BoG’s own survey, that was published on the 5th of June, it was clear that the banks were not reporting some of their customer complaints to their management boards, they were not reporting to the BoG as well. The structures that were put in place to deal with customer complaints were non existent. So it leads us to ask if the BoG should still have in-house, the unit that deals with customer complaints? I am proposing that we should start thinking towards having an Independent Financial Services Complaint Commission” he added.

Product Driven Customer Experience

In his lecture, the learned lawyer called on banks in the country to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to introduce technological innovations to reset the foundations of how banking is conducted with the ultimate aim of achieving branchless banking.

“The BoG has the legal framework to make this happen and we should not allow this pandemic to pass without guiding banks to move from products innovation to creating customer experience” Akapame stated.

Law and Ethics Web Series

The Law and Ethics Web Series begun on Wednesday the 6th of May 2020 on the online meeting platform, Zoom at 2pm. The pending presentations on Jun 24, Jul 1, Jul 8, Jul 15, Jul 22, Jul 29, and Aug 5, 2020, will come on as scheduled. Interested persons can join any of the upcoming sessions by visiting the Zoom application and using the Webinar ID:848-2795-0621 or https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84827950621.

Various speakers have been lined up for the exercise by the organizers. The series is being coordinated by Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, a Lecturer and Head of Law Centers at the GIMPA Faculty of Law. The 17th of June 2020 session was moderated by Rev. Benjamin Apeakorang, Quality Assurance and Advisory Head Banking Supervision Department, Bank of Ghana, under the distinguished patronage of the Rector of GIMPA, Professor Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, and the Honorific Dean of the GIMPA Law Faculty, Justice Sir Dennis Adjei.