MAKING POSITIVE INROADS IN THE BANKING INDUSTRY
The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) was established in 1997 in accordance with the Banking Institutions Act as the representative trade association for the commercial banking sector in the country. BAN members are Bank Windhoek, First National Bank, Nedbank, SME Bank and Standard Bank. BAN deals with non-competitive issues which are of common interest and of significance to the banking industry in Namibia.
The over-arching objective of BAN is to provide a forum for the consideration of policy matters
Of the Namibian banking industry. It also acts as a medium for communication with Government, the Bank of Namibia, and any other public bodies and authorities on views that affect banking activities. The current Chairmperson of BAN is Baronice HansSarel Van Zyl , Managing Director of Bank Windhoek. The Chairmanship of the BAN is held on a rotational basis by the managing directors of the commercial banks for a year at a time.
The objectives of the Association are:
- To provide a forum for the consideration of matters of policy that affects the banking industry In Namibia;
- To act as a conduit for communication with all stakeholders on the views of members institutions on banking industry matters;
- To engage and/or promote consumer education initiatives on banking matters with the aim of promoting transparent, fair, efficient, and cost-effective service delivery to the general public;
- To encourage members to conduct their business in terms of internationally accepted banking standards and adopt fair banking practices with their customers and other stakeholders.
- To encourage members to comply with banking laws, regulations and directives issued by regulators from time to time;
- To encourage members to initiate, participate, support, and contribute to industry, sectoral and national initiatives that contribute to the growth of the industry and the economic development of Namibia.
BAN posted the Code of Banking Practice and Guidelines for Lodging Customer Complaints information on all the websites of Namibian banks. The Code of Banking Practice was officially launched in January 2013. It is a voluntary code which sets standards of good banking practice for financial institutions to follow when dealing with customers.
BAN continues to educate clients on the various types of financial fraud, including card fraud, phishing scams and online banking fraud, and how clients can protect themselves in this regard.
Key issues in 2014 and beyond for the Bankers Association:
- The Financial Intelligence Act continues to be a major focus of the members of BAN for the year and beyond. All four commercial banks have embarked on awareness campaigns targeted at their clients to become FIA compliant.
- BAN supports the Namibia Financial Literacy Initiative (FLI) under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance to promote financial literacy amongst the Namibian public in order to make sound and educated banking decisions.
- BAN also supports the Namibia Financial Sector Strategy (2011-2021) which was launched in August 2012 by the Minister of Finance with the objective of developing a more resilient, competitive and dynamic financial system with best practices in order for the sector to realize its full potential in respect of its contribution to the growth of the economy and the achievement of socio-economic objectives of poverty reduction and wealth creation. The strategy also expects the emergence of strong and innovative domestic financial institutions that are technology driven and ready to face the challenges of globalisation.
- The latest results of FinScope Namibia surveys indicate that financial institutions in Namibia have made progress in improving financial inclusion over the past ten years and could reach the target set for financial inclusion in the Financial Sector Bankers’ Association of Namibia.
- All BAN member commercial banks also launched a basic bank account as directed by the Bank of Namibia, in order to enhance access to financial services by the previously “unbanked.”
- All Banks have also introduced the identity verification for all deposits made.
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