This, she said, was important in helping the sector remain relevant to the segment of the economy it served.
Speaking at the 12th Annual General Meeting of GHASALC, Ms. Awadzi said financial institutions that have not yet designed, adopted and implemented a digital transformation strategy are already behind.
“The S&L sector risks becoming a dinosaur as more banks reach out to the informal sector and the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector with their innovative digital financial services,” Ms. Awadzi said.
The annual general meeting to present the association’s 2021 annual report had the theme “Fostering financial inclusion through digitalisation: the role of savings and loan companies”. As part of the meeting, new board members were elected to oversee the association from 2022 to 2024.
They are Mr. Kwame Owusu-Boateng (CEO, Opportunity International S&L), who chairs the Board of Directors, Olivier Bailly-Bechet (General Manager, Advans Ghana S&L), Vice-Chairman.
The other members are Ms. Lydia Daddy (MD, Services Integrity S&L), Mr. Arnold Parker (CEO, Letshego Ghana S&L), Mr. Yusif Abubakari (MD, Jins S&L), Mr. Mohammed Aourongjeb (CEO, ASA S&L)
She said all over the world, technology is rapidly disrupting traditional business models of funding.
“There is no doubt that the S&L industry is at a critical juncture and some key stakeholders need to rethink their strategy to reposition the industry to unlock its full potential to serve low and middle income households and the sector. of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises which is the main driver of socio-economic growth in our economy,” she said.
Ms. Awadzi called on the S&L to put in place strong governance and risk management systems to help mitigate these risks as financial institutions harness the benefits of digitalization.
To that end, she urged S&L companies to raise their capital to digitize and deploy more sophisticated systems to help mitigate associated cyber risks.
Ms. Awadzi commended the S&L sector for the role it plays in the development of the country.
“The role of the S&L industry in our economy has been significant, providing essential financial services to micro, small and medium enterprises, the informal sector and households,” the second deputy governor emphasized.
She said that at the end of the first quarter of 2022, the total assets of the specialized depository institutions sector exceeded GHc 16.0 billion, of which the savings and loans sub-sector contributed 35. .1%.
Ms Awadzi said S&L companies disbursed a total of GHc3.4 billion in net loans to businesses and private companies in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
GHASALC Chairman, Mr. Kwame Owusu-Boateng, in his remarks, said that the association continues to play its role as an intermediary to ensure that the sector as a whole remains vibrant and fulfills its mandate with Excellency.
He urged GHASALC members to develop alternative channels to enable their clients to access their services.
“Through innovation, we have a better chance of retaining and improving our customer base by giving them the ability to do more with little effort and at lower cost,” Mr. Owusu-Boateng said.
GHASALC Executive Secretary Mr. Tweneboah Kodua Boakye said in a report that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled S&L members to be innovative and invest in digital platforms to retain and grow their customer base. .
“This dynamic has resulted in an appreciable increase in the number of customers (i.e. an increase of 21.67%) from approximately six million in December 2019 to 7.3 million in December 2021. The sector in December 2021 also recorded a significant increase in total assets, deposits and loans. at 25.48%, 33.44% and 64.08% respectively compared to the pre-COVID-19 period (December 2019) and the pre-sector cleaning exercise,” he said.
Mr. Boakye said the association is collaborating with some Fintech companies to develop digital solutions to improve the operations of S&L companies.