Tonight, on THE READERS HUB SOCIAL CONVO session, we are happy to engage a digital financial expert, a young man with great achievements in the banking sector who will be sharing his expertise with us on how to better manage our finances and the need to cultivate the habit of saving.
The banking sector plays an important role in the modern economic world. Banks collect the savings of the individuals and lend them to business people and manufacturers. Indeed, it must be noted that banks loans facilitate commerce in the country.
Manufacturers borrow from banks the money needed for the purchase of raw materials and to meet other requirements such as working capital. It is safe to keep money in banks. Interest is also earned thereby. Thus, the desire to save is stimulated and the volume of saving increases. The savings can be used to produce new capital assets.
The above developments notwithstanding, most people in Africa and for that matter are reluctant to save in banks; partly due to lack of education on the need to save in banks or poor interest rate of most local banks and other financial institutions.
In recent times, most local banks and some other financial institutions in the country have collapsed partly because of poor management; and have led to untold hardship to some families. This has further deepened the fears and discouraged most people from saving in the banks.
Tonight, on the READERS HUB Social Convo, we present to you an insightful, interactive and informative discourse with one of our ardent Readers. He will take us through his life’s journey and also tell us how he intends to teach people how to make money.
Ladies and gentlemen, stay tuned as our sister-Alima Bawah moderates this interactive session on READERS HUB Social Convo.
Alima Bawah: Mr. Awusi, welcome to the Readers Hub SOCIAL CONVO tonight. Please kindly tell us a brief of yourself.
Mr. Awusi: Good evening the READERS HUB, I am honored to be here this evening and thank you madam Alima our ‘learned colleague’ for hosting me. My name is Awusi Zakariah as earlier mentioned.
Alima Bawah: I like the “learned colleague” unfortunately I can’t read law or banking (smiles). Could you let us know you beyond your name? Tell us about your education, your hometown, what you currently do and family if you are comfortable.
Mr. Awusi: Well, maybe time won’t allow you again to go into Law or Banking because you’re already impacting society in a different field. Let me say I am Ghanaian, a native of Bole, I am currently married to one wife and we are blessed with five children (2 girls and 3boys). For my education I’m sure there are so many ‘learned colleagues’ here that I am afraid to even mention mine. That notwithstanding, as custom demands let me mention this few. I attended the following schools: Maluwe Primary and Wakawaka primary by extension, Bole Experimental JSS, Bole SSS, Tamale Poly DBS Accounting, Sunyani Poly. HND Accounting, UCC BCom, Pan African Institute MBA Project Management, IBM CERT. Data Science, Hongkong Univ of Sci and Tech- -Cert Fintech, Duke University- Cert Fintech Law and Policy, Banking College, Global Association of Energy Risk Professionals Member. I hope this is okay for now (smiles)
Alima Bawah: This is impressive! What has been your career journey?
Mr. Awusi: After my DBS, I worked as an Accounts Officer for Unilever Key Distributor for a year. The rest of my working life has been in the banking sector. I am currently in Tamale working with Standard Chartered Bank.
Alima Bawah: At what point did you see yourself going into banking?
Mr. Awusi: When I was in Secondary School.
Alima Bawah: Inspired by anyone in your family or community?
Mr. Awusi: My family is full of bankers, administrators and other financial experts. Fortunately, I happened to be the last born of about 17 children. So, there was a lot to learn from.
Alima Bawah: Oh, that’s great then. But do you feel fulfilled with your current job? What would you do differently if you had the chance to change a profession?
Mr. Awusi: Now I want to be a teacher.
Alima Bawah: Is that a sublime way of saying you don’t enjoy being a banker?
Mr. Awusi: Not exactly. In fact, I love my job so much; but I want to teach people about money, risk in investment, dangers of high interest rate, customer service, confidence in saving and many more. Indeed, but for banking, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to meet so many personalities
Alima Bawah: I’m curious and I guess some of our Readers too would be interested to know, some of the risks and challenges you face as a banker.
Mr. Awusi: In banking everyone calls you a thief and you also call everyone a thief (smiles). Banking is about trust. Any trigger of mismanagement or fraud is a disaster in banking. There is a case where a whole UK bank was sold for just 1pound.
Alima Bawah: Can you elaborate further? And why didn’t you give me a tip to go and buy it? (Laughs).
Mr. Awusi: When customers lost trust in the management and withdrew their deposits and sold of their shares.
Alima Bawah: How are you able to manage your banking hours and still gained this tall list of certificates?
Mr. Awusi: Personally, going to work every day is a survival and a risk for me. Just by one mistake; it can land me in cells and deprive me of my job. Just one misbehavior towards a customer can cause me my job and reputation. But I am challenged to continue to delight my customers.
I have never stop learning, I do a lot of online learning and I don’t want to be knowledge gap in anything relating to my sector and the paradigm shifts.
Our biggest problem as Ghanaians is our desire to have more interest rate over our principal deposits without questioning where our money’s are being invested to justify the returns.
Alima Bawah: We expect you to do the magic and get us more money (laughs).
Mr. Awusi: The magic is the monumental losses that we have faced for the past years. My sympathy goes to the retirees.
Alima Bawah: Tell us, how does the next 5 to 10 years look like for you as a banker?
Mr. Awusi: The next 5-10years look too long though. Every minute is such a decision moment for me. I work in a bank that is constantly changing and adjusting to customer expectations. I am praying to God to give me a break through in my thinking and walk away.
QUESTIONS TIME WITH OUR READERS FROM (THE READERS HUB)
Haadi: From your over 15 years of experience in the banking sector, what has been;
(a) the most exciting encounter in your journey so far?
(b) the most life-threatening aspect at the instant of your career?
Mr. Awusi: Mr. Haadi, when my customers are delighted and I see their smiles as they walk away and I don’t see them as burden then I become humbled and happier. Today, I solved the problem of a customer who was quarantined around January and her husband can now feed their family back here in Ghana and I was elated. And with regards to the second leg of the question, anytime I see pensioners rushing in for their monthly stipends and I take a look at the medical expenditure awaiting them, I look into my empty savings accounts, then I feel very threatened. Please let’s save for our future now. Educating your kids to prominence is not a guarantee of their support in your survival in old age it is a Visa for their own survival, not yours!
Alima Bawah: Interesting! Mr. Awusi, I could see that you are also in active politics; could you please tell us about your political life and aspirations?
Mr. Awusi: I tried moving into politics without learning politics and I failed miserably. But I have learnt my bitter lessons and my come back Insha Allah shall be big. In Politics, never follow bootlickers!! They don’t vote they only make noise.
Alima Bawah: My sympathy for the loss but of course as you said, it was an opportunity to learn. But how soon are you going back into politics?
Mr. Awusi: I am planting the seeds now, when the opportunity comes you will surely see me bounds back with renewed energy.
Mr. Alhassan: Please while you were, growing up, have you encountered any issue of envy, hate and negative comments? If yes, how did you handle them?
Mr. Awusi: Mr. Alhassan, thank you for the question. To be frank with you, my mind grew faster than my body. When growing, I saw myself as an individual though from a larger sized family from both mother and father side. And so, I don’t see hate, I don’t envy, I only see inspiration. I always tell my colleague in the office that, his aspiration is to be a manager, that’s no longer my aspiration, I pray God answers their prayers and also answer my prayers so we will all move on.
Bassing Kamal: What are some of the challenges (if any) do you find in the banking sector of Ghana and what are your recommendation (s)?
Mr. Awusi: Customers service from bankers. Low incomes leading to low savings from clients.
The average Ghanaian thinks that bank money is for the government so when they borrow, they don’t want to pay leading to nonperforming loans for banks and the antecedent of high interest we pay on loans.
Alima Bawah: This is indeed getting more exciting but unfortunately it appears we are running out of time. From the perspective of a banker, what advice would you give to The Readers Hub in this period of Covid-19 as regards the management of their finances?
Mr. Awusi: Indeed, Covid-19 is a big revolution. Jobs have been negatively impacted including the banking sector. Digitization is here to stay. Everyone now prefers ‘finger banking’ rather than branch banking. So, my fellow bankers, you must be changing your skills. Very soon you’ll see jobs all in the digital form. If you don’t have that knowledge, you will lose out. Savings are impacted. People must stop unnecessary buying. Necessities are what we need now and not our wants. Let’s support our savings by doing life insurance policies as well. Your family will suffer the very day you lose your life. As bankers, we are highly exposed in our daily interactions; let’s continue to take the safety precautionary measures. And for those who want jobs in the banking sector. It’s not your certificates in banking and finance or accounting. Learn digitization, learn Fintech, Learn Crypto, and learn AI.
Alima Bawah: Wow!! How does this affect my money in the bank?
Mr. Awusi: You now have easy access to your money than ever before. You save your time and money by doing finger banking. More and more investment opportunities are being created through digitization like crypto currency
Alima Bawah: It has been a great pleasure to have this thoughtful conversation with you tonight. I have learnt a lot about banking and about you and I guess many Readers have learnt same too. Before we draw the curtains down, any final comments to make?
Mr. Awusi: Thank you madam Alima the Queen’s Daughter and thank you to The Readers Hub. God bless us all.
Alima Bawah: Thank you very much Readers for the time and patience. It has been a very informative and insightful interaction tonight on our Social Convohandle.
Until we meet same time next week have a good night!
NB: Please don’t forget to share after reading for others to also benefit.
Hub Editor: Bassing. A.M.A. Kamal.