Julian Opuni hails innovations in Ghana’s financial sector

Accra, Feb. 23, GNA – Julian Opuni, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, has affirmed the Bank’s commitment to financial inclusion, which he describes as “a cornerstone of economic growth and equality.”

Speaking in an interview with Oxford Business Group, he outlined its “comprehensive approach” to financial inclusion, which include technological innovation, strategic partnerships, and financial literacy initiatives.

These and other initiatives, he said, would help extend financial services to underserved communities.

“A dedicated focus on financial literacy and education programs ensures that access to services is complemented by informed decision-making. Empowering communities with financial knowledge foster a culture of saving and responsible financial behavior,” he noted.

Expressing confidence in the Ghana’s financial sector, he emphasised the importance of designing products for diverse segments in the banking sector.

He said it was important to simplify account opening processes, and “leverage on agency banking networks to expand reach, particularly in rural areas”.

Highlighting other aspects of financial inclusion, Mr Opuni, predicated “a collaborative” [banking] ecosystem, where stakeholders worked together to offer diverse products and services to previously excluded segments.

He observed that the introduction of the Ghana Card had helped enhance security measures and combat fraud.

He praised the card’s “state-of-the-art biometric features, real-time data capabilities, and seamless integration with existing systems”, indicating it had promoted an “accurate Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance and anti-money laundering efforts.”

‘‘Traditional and financial technology (fintech) institutions can leverage the comprehensive database to offer diverse financial services, promoting cashless transactions.

“These advancements contribute to a more inclusive financial ecosystem by removing barriers to entry, especially for the economically disadvantaged.

“…By streamlining the online and in-person account opening process, the Ghana Card provides accessible formal identification, particularly for those in remote areas,” he noted.

Addressing the challenges posed by the Domestic Debt Exchange Program (DDEP) to financial institutions, Mr Opuni acknowledged the significant restructuring hurdles but also identified potential opportunities.

He noted how the programme had “altered the risk profile of public sector instruments, potentially making private sector credit more appealing to banks in the future”.

He expressed his anticipation for “a potential resurgence in private sector lending and investment as economic conditions improve and borrowing rates decline”.

“Looking ahead, there is potential for a rebound in private sector lending and investment. The DDEP has reshaped the risk profile of public sector financial instruments, prompting banks to view private sector credit more favorably,” he stated.