Legitimate Microfinance Institutions to be distinguished with logo by June

The Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies (GAMC) is to introduce a corporate signage for all licensed institutions in the sector by mid-2017. The signage, which would be present at the premises of all registered microfinance institutions in the country from January, is to help the public identify licensed companies to do business with.

The Board Chairman of the association, Mr Collins Amponsah- Mensah, in an interview on January 10, said the lessons learnt from the fraudulent activities of some of the institutions in the past have necessitated the adoption of this new strategy.

“What happened in the past has given us a lot of opportunity to assess how best we can operate. Out of the lessons learnt, we have strategised for the year. One of the key things that is going to happen this year is the use of a common signage which the association and the Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN) have agreed with the Bank of Ghana to implement,” he said.

He said, “every microfinance institution with the exception of the rural banks and the savings and loans are going to have a common signage in front of their offices. The idea is to help identify the licensed ones and to differentiate between licensed institutions and the unlicensed ones.”

Another reason behind the new signage, he said was to also help the operators themselves identify the unlicensed ones so they could report them to the Bank of Ghana.

Corporate logo remains

Mr Amponsah-Mensah debunked rumours that the corporate logos of the microfinance institutions would change as a result of the new signage.

Rather, the companies, he said, would maintain their original corporate logos and keep the industry standard signage outside their premises.

“Their logos will not change. What is going to happen is that we will have a common logo which reflects the association, then the company’s name and address will come. If you want to keep your company logo, you can have your small signage above the standard one,” he said.

He added, “When it comes to their internal operations, their letterheads and passbooks will still have the corporate logo. Institutions are not expected to change their corporate logo; but what will be outside and what people will see is what will be the standard one that we have all agreed on.”

Capacity building

With regard to this year, he said the association would embark on education and capacity building for players in the microfinance sector.

To start with, the GAMC has agreed on operational guidelines for the sector in collaboration with the regulator, BoG.

“We have agreed on guidelines for our operations with the Bank of Ghana. These guidelines include how the institutions are supposed to work, the amount of deposits they can take from the public, how much they can put in investments and how much credit they can give the public,” he noted.

He further explained that “you need to have the board in place who will go through capacity building, managers will go through specific trainings that have been agreed upon. The idea is to get the human resource of the institutions have their capacity improved so that they can provide the right services to their members.”