Some bank officials are worried that the corporate policy that requires them to wear suits as the mode of dressing, restricts their choice of dressing to promote Ghanaian attire like the smock, kente and batik.
Although staff are allowed to wear locally designed corporate clothes on Fridays, some bank official told the Times in an interview that it only sought to promote the identities of the bank because they do not have the choice to wear local attire to project the Ghanaian culture to the rest of the world.
Checks carried out by the Times at the Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Merchant Bank, Ghana Commercial Bank and Bank of Ghana indicated a strict adherence to corporate wear with limited option for local attire.
The dress code in the banking industry is so strict that chiefs who work in the bank could not wear any cultural attire apart from the suit and the corporate clothes that is allowed to be worn on Fridays.
“So long as they remain with the bank, they are obliged to conform to the corporate dress code involving suit and corporate clothes to be worn on Fridays, “a source at the Commercial Bank told the Times.
A staff of the Merchant Bank told the Times on condition of anonymity that the strict adherence to the corporate wear of suit was a drain on their resources, saying that the cost of suit ranges between GH¢200 and GH¢500 which were mostly imported.
The staff wondered why management would not allow them to wear local attire that suited the climatic condition of the country rather than “wearing of suit which sometimes causes inconvenience for us because of the hot weather.”
A Commercial Bank staff also said that since the government had a policy to promote made-in-Ghana goods, it would be useful for the “Ghana Commercial Bank as a state institution to show the way by making its corporate policy on dressing flexible to include the wearing of local attire.”
A management staff of Commercial Bank who declined to be named explained that the strict adherence to suit and the corporate clothes was meant to ensure uniformity and professionalism among members of staff.
Another management source at Merchant Bank said the bank had allowed staff to wear dress of their own choice until two years ago when there was change of policy “because the bank was overwhelmed by an unhealthy competition of show of dressing among staff.”
The source said the adoption of the existing dress code was for the purpose of standardization so as to put everyone one on equal footing.”