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Bank of Ghana Suspends Forex Trading Licences of GT Bank and FBN

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Bank of Ghana Suspends Forex Trading Licences of GT Bank and FBN Bank

CEM REPORT, FINANCE | The Bank of Ghana has taken decisive action against regulatory breaches by temporarily suspending the Foreign Exchange Trading Licences of Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana Limited (GTB) and FBNBank Ghana Limited (FBN), effective March 18, 2024. The suspension, which lasts for one month, underscores the central bank’s commitment to ensuring adherence to foreign exchange market regulations.

Background on the Suspension

In an official statement posted on its website, the Bank of Ghana highlighted instances of fraudulent documentation in the foreign exchange activities of both banks, leading to the imposition of the suspension. This move, according to the central bank, aims to enforce compliance with foreign exchange market regulations and maintain the integrity of the financial system.

The suspension is grounded in section 11 (2) of the Foreign Exchange Act 2006, (Act 723), which allows the Bank of Ghana to suspend a licence for a specific period as an alternative to outright revocation. This measure serves as a reminder of the stringent regulatory environment within which Ghanaian banks operate and the consequences of non-compliance.

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The Bank of Ghana reiterated the importance of strict adherence to forex market regulations by all participants. Failure to comply with these regulations not only undermines the integrity of the financial system but also poses risks to investors and the economy at large.

“Bank of Ghana has suspended the Foreign Exchange Trading Licences of Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana Limited (GTB) and FBNBank Ghana Limited (FBN), effective 18th March 2024, for a period of one (1) month, in accordance with section 11 (2) of the Foreign Exchange Act 2006, (Act 723).”

“This is as a result of various breaches of the foreign exchange market regulations, including fraudulent documentation in their foreign exchange operations which have come to the attention of Bank of Ghana.”

“The licence will be restored at the end of the one-month suspension period once the Bank of Ghana is satisfied that they have put in place effective controls to ensure strict adherence to the foreign exchange market regulations.By this statement, we caution foreign exchange market players to adhere strictly to the applicable forex market regulations and guidelines.”

Response from FBNBank Ghana

FBNBank Ghana acknowledged the suspension of its Forex Trading Licence and expressed its commitment to working with the Bank of Ghana to address the identified issues promptly. The bank assured its customers that other business segments would remain fully operational during the suspension period, reaffirming its dedication to providing excellent banking services.

“We refer to the Bank of Ghana’s announcement of the 30-day suspension of our Foreign Exchange Trading Licence effective March 18, 2024.

“We would like to advise our valued customers and esteemed stakeholders that we are working with the Bank of Ghana to remediate the identified trade-related matters.

“FBNBank would like to assure its valued customers that when the suspension kicks in, the Bank’s other business segments and solutions will be fully operational. This will include branch operations, agent banking partners and channels for seamless banking.

“We reaffirm our commitment to our customers and stakeholders to the provision of the full range of excellent banking services, with the assurances that we will continue to uphold the high ethical standards that we are known for.”

Response from Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana

Similarly, Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana acknowledged the suspension of its Foreign Exchange Trading Licence and reassured customers and stakeholders of efforts to resolve trade-related issues swiftly. The bank emphasized that customer deposits and other services remain unaffected, with regular operations continuing through various channels.

“We refer to the Central Bank of Ghana’s press statement in which it announced the suspension of Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana’s Foreign Exchange Trading License effective from the 18th of March 2024 until 18th of April 2024 (1 month period) and received official notice of same.”

“We would like to assure all our esteemed customers and stakeholders that we are currently working with the relevant Government Agencies and customers with a view to resolving these trade-related issues timely.”

“Our customers and stakeholders are our primary responsibility and, Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana would like to clarify that this development does not affect customers’ own deposits and other business segments of our operations. All other products and services ;-Main branches, Agency Banking outlets are available for your convenient use at our regular opening hours and our Mobile Apps and Internet banking are available for your use at any time of the day.”

“We are also in ongoing consultations and discussions with the Central Bank of Ghana to fully resolve all matters raised in the shortest possible time. Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana remains committed to being a constructive participant in Ghana’s financial markets and to contributing to its further developments in the interest of all its customers and stakeholders.”

Commitment to Compliance and Resolution

Both banks emphasized their commitment to regulatory compliance and ongoing discussions with the Central Bank of Ghana to resolve the issues raised. They underscored their dedication to upholding high ethical standards and contributing to the development of Ghana’s financial markets.

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Bank of Ghana Regulatory Stance

The temporary suspension of the Foreign Exchange Trading Licences of Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana Limited (GTB) and FBNBank Ghana Limited (FBN) by the Bank of Ghana sends a clear message about the importance of regulatory compliance in the forex market. As the banks work to address the identified issues, customers and stakeholders can rest assured that efforts are underway to maintain the integrity of the financial system and ensure the continuity of banking services.

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