Since the introduction of mobile money (MOMO) loans by telecommunication companies (telcos), some of their customers have taken undue advantage of the opportunity.
While some have taken the loans to either start or recapitalise their businesses, others have accessed the funds and misused them, hence their inability to pay.
To prevent the telcos from tracking them, they have stopped using their SIM cards in their quest to avoid detection.
It is not yet clear how much the telcos are owed but sources say it is in millions of Ghana cedis.
As a result, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has advised those who have defaulted on their mobile money loans to endeavour to pay them back for their own good.
The bank said most people were of the view that they could get away with the mobile money loan by discarding their SIM cards after taking the loans.
However, the Head of Credit Reporting Unit of BoG, Godfred Cudjoe, said all those owing mobile money loans had their details with the Credit Reference Bureau “and this could affect you in the future when you badly need a loan.”
No free money
He said people should not think that a mobile money loan was free money and that they could get away by borrowing and throwing their SIM cards away.
According to him, anyone who took a mobile money loan has their information with the Credit Reference Bureau which keeps records of people’s creditworthiness.
Speaking at a financial literacy workshop organised for personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service in Kumasi, Mr Cudjoe said all the banks conduct a search at the Credit Reference Bureau on all their customers before extending a loan facility to them.
This, he explained, was to ensure that the person taking the loan did not have a record of defaulting in payment.
He said if it was noted that one had defaulted in the repayment of their previous loans, this could affect one’s ability to access new loan facilities.
On investment, Mr Cudjoe asked the participants to conduct due diligence when investing their money with any financial institution and not to be swayed by what he described as the mouth-watering returns being offered by those institutions.
He asked them to be wary of any investment company that tended to offer returns in investment higher than the market average or the Treasury bill rate.
“The higher the returns, the riskier the investment,” he said.
He said the training has become necessary following the complaints received by the bank over the years.
According to him, the statistics showed that security agencies have been the victims of most Ponzi schemes and explained that it could be due to their lack of knowledge about the banking sector.
The workshop, therefore, was to educate the personnel on the functions of the various types of banks and also to expose the personnel to their rights and responsibilities when dealing with financial institutions.
He appealed to the personnel and Ghanaians, in general, to try to negotiate their interest on their loans as part of the process of bringing down the interest rate in the country.
According to him, customers have the right to negotiate the interest rate and believed that if customers started exercising this right, it could drive interest rates down.
The Ashanti Regional Accountant of the GIS, Chief Superintendent Joshua Mensah Ayettey, was grateful to the central bank for organising the training for them.
He said the workshop was an eye-opener for them as it taught them new things and explained some of the practices within the banking sector to them.