The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison, has reiterated the need for banks to build strong cybersecurity systems that will help them to prevent all cybersecurity risks and strengthen their credit risk management.
Speaking at a webinar organized by the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), Dr Addison urged banks to put in the needed cybersecurity systems to effectively manage the cybersecurity risks, credit risks and operational risks brought by COVID-19. He said banks had a role to play in ensuring that the right security infrastructures were in place.
“All the successes chalked in the digitization of banking systems would be eroded if adequate investments were 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 ongoing basis to effectively manage cyber risk and fraud.”
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The governor also mentioned that credit risk required attention as the slowdown in economic activity due to COVID-19 has had severe consequences on households and businesses, with lenders becoming the prime targets of cybercriminals.
“To possibly mitigate the risk, moratoria on repayment of loans and overdraft facilities, flexibility in the application of accounting and regulatory standards in the treatment of potential impaired loans have been emphasized by international accounting standard setters and the bank. ”
“This is why the introduction of the regulatory reliefs has proved timely, and banks have responded appropriately with some form of forbearance for customers. These include rolling forward interest and principal payments, interest repayment waivers and offering new loans to enable borrowers with reasonable longer-term prospects stay afloat in these challenging times.”
The BoG Governor advised banks to focus their Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) on end-point and network security measures with strong user authentication protocols to minimize abuse of their cybersecurity systems.
The webinar was organized under the theme: “Managing Banking Risks in Uncertain Times – COVID19 Test Case.”