The Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi, who made the call, has underscored the need for securing the SWIFT environment against possible abuse was a collective responsibility of the BoG and the banks.
“Securing the SWIFT environment against possible abuse is without doubt, our collective responsibility”, she said in a speech read on her behalf by Mrs Peggy Osei-Tutu Dzodzomenyo, Director of Banking, Bank of Ghana.
SWIFT is a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions.
Large value local funds transfers, settlement of security related transactions and cross border transitions across borders rely on the network.
According to Mrs Awadzi, threats like cyber-attacks were now more than ever imminent in the system thus the need for players in the banking sector to close in their ranks and fend off such threats.
She said the fear of high risk jurisdictions was making many banks around the world to reduce their corresponding banking relationship and Ghana stands to lose out as some existing local banks had already lost their corresponding banks.
New banks are also finding it extremely difficult to secure reputable financial institutions to represent them in major centres.
She said with the assistance of SWIFT it would be possible to develop ways to prevent local banks from being delisted by their correspondent banks.
Mrs Awadzi, highlighting the importance of the SWIFT said most banks in Ghana, relied on SWIFT products to meet their international compliance requirements.
The Central Bank, she said operated a gateway that enabled 29 banks to connect to the SWIFT network and this had reduced cost for participating banks as well as helped them meet required standards.
The country Manager for SWIFT, Mr Solomon Souza, said there were currently 11,000 connected financial institutions, corporate and market connected globally.
He said SWIFT was present in more than 200 countries and territories, registering about seven billion messages daily.
He said Data from SWIFT showed that its payment business in Ghana had outperformed the total growth of the business globally.
Ghana in 2017 recorded seven billion transactions and its current average message is around 33,000 per day, representing an increase of 22.7 percent.