Mobile Money Operators Not Competitors. BoG Tells Banks

Dr. Johnson Asiama

Dr. Johnson Asiama, Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana (BoG), has urged the banking industry not to see mobile money operators as competitors.

He said the banks should consider mobile money as a vital channel in boosting financial inclusion and reducing cost of mobilization of investible funds.

Dr. Asiama, who made this known while speaking at the launch of the 2016 Banking Survey by PWC recently, said the mobile network operators have the technology and infrastructure to drive financial inclusion as envisaged.

“So let’s leverage on the technology and agent network to promote financial inclusion without risking the general safety and soundness of the financial system,” he added.

He said as “regulators, BoG will continue to dialogue and fine-tune the regulatory and supervisory framework to ensure that we minimize the risks and vulnerabilities in the system so that we can achieve our financial inclusion objectives whilst we build a robust payments system infrastructure for the country.”

Mobile Money Soars

He said data available to BoG indicates that the volume and value of mobile money transactions far outstrips all other non-cash modes, except cheques (in value terms only) for obvious reasons.

Dr. Asiamah said total mobile money float balance at the end of June 2016 was GH₵679.2million compared to GH₵341.3million in 2015, adding that there were 108,531 registered mobile money agents as at June 2016 compared to about 38,400 in June 2015.

“This trend confirms the wide and growing acceptance of mobile money services as an alternative to other modes of transactions.

“Consider the June 2016 float balance of GH¢679.17 (equivalent to US$172.16million). These are funds mobilized for the banks at no cost to them: funds which could have been outside the formal banking system without such an ecosystem,” he said.

Dr. Asiama said with advancement in technology, the use of non-cash payment products has become more pronounced, thus moving the country gradually towards a cashless society.

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By Cephas Larbi