The vulnerable elites: The story of Ghanaian bankers

The vulnerable elites: The story of Ghanaian bankers

The banking sector is one of the ‘saviour’ industry that not only employs a number of Ghanaian graduates but also provides decent remuneration for their qualification.

The banking industry has an array of intelligent young men and women from varying educational training; lawyers, economist, engineers, mathematicians, accountants, sociologist etc.

These smart guys impact each other making everyone better off than they came in. Aside from the ‘fat’ salary and networking opportunities, there is a significant increase in status for people working in a bank.

The risks involved in the banking industry are equally as gargantuan as the remunerations and the benefits. Thousands of people lost their jobs and their livelihood during the banking sector clean-up exercise by the government which started last year. 

Some of these people may never be employed in the banking or financial sector again due to the baggage of being an ex-staff of a defunct bank; mostly due to no fault of theirs. Highly qualified and experienced former staff of these banks have given up on their search for jobs in the financial sector, even at a fraction of their former remuneration package, and have taken up menial jobs just to survive.

Their career in the banking or financial sector has virtually ended and they need to start afresh in a new industry without the advantage of years of experience. Families are breaking up because of a significant drop in income from a key member. The mental, emotional torture and the scorn from the society is enough punishment for this group of people. Unfortunately, there is no industry-wide welfare structure to take care of banking staff in situations like this.

The Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), which is the foremost umbrella body for the universal banks in Ghana, is mostly focused on three core priorities; Helping customers, promoting growth and carrying out research. They are also involved in analyzing and disseminating information on issues affecting the banking industry’s performance and growth. The welfare of employees of banks is clearly not a key priority of the GAB. 

Recent happenings in the industry and the plight of affected staff are clear signals of how vulnerable staff of Ghanaian banks are to external or internal shocks to their career. Bankers’ Welfare Association of Bangladesh is an industry-wide body that champions the welfare of its members in that country. 

Amongst others, the objectives and purpose of this association are to provide financial support to members in distress, provide scholarship to children of members, housing projects to enable members to have cheap accommodation etc. Ghanaian bankers can take a cue from this.

With a banking staff population of over 30,000 and a relatively good salary, Banker’s Welfare Association of Ghana will be a significant step in cushioning staff on the event of loss of jobs as happened during the banking sector clean-up last year. A paltry contribution of GHS100 for even 10,000 members will generate an amount of GHS12 million per annum. It is time for us to define our future through collective effort.

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