The Builsa Community Bank Limited (BUCO Bank) at Sandema, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), has over the years supported individuals and institutions in its catchment areas.
In spite of the numerous challenges the bank faces in its deprived areas of operation, it has been able to mobilise resources to increase its CSR activities and other interventions to beneficiaries over the years.
Between 2015 and 2016, the bank supported the education, agriculture, health, culture, sports and environment sectors with an amount of GH¢66,814,15.
The bank also provided scholarship to over 50 needy but brilliant students in its catchment areas.
It also supports the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council and the Department of Agriculture in the Bolgatanga Municipality, Builsa North, Builsa South and the Mamprugu Moaduri districts, where the bank's four branches are located, during the annual Farmers’ Day celebrations.
The bank also provided laboratory equipment to the Kanjarga Health Centre in the Builsa South District, as well as provided a mechanised urinal and bathroom at the Sandema District Hospital for Out-Patient Department (OPD) attendants and patients' relatives.
With over 50,000 clients and a total deposit of close to GH¢20 million, the bank, this year, has so far provided credit facilities to the tune of GH¢12.5 million to over 9,000 individual and corporate clients in its operational areas.
Since 2014, BUCO Bank has targeted the agribusiness sector with a provision of financial support to smallholder farmers and all the actors in the various value chains.
This has resulted in an increase in the bank's support to the sector from a little below three per cent of the total loan portfolio in 2014 to over 14 per cent in 2016.
The bank's board has also approved its management's proposal to increase its support to the agribusiness sector to 30 per cent by the end of 2019.
Support to women
The BUCO Bank has also designed a number of interventions for women and has supported over 30,000 women.
It also recently introduced a Susu Deposit which is linked to a micro-insurance scheme where over 2,000 women are benefitting; and also supported over 7,000 women in agriculture.
More than 10,000 women have also been trained in areas such as basic record keeping, financial management, good agronomic practices, cash flow management, security and risk management, health and nutrition.
These training programmes have built the capacities of the beneficiaries to be able to create small and medium-scale enterprises.
Two of the bank's beneficiaries, Madam Agnes Atayila and Mr Razak Mohammed, who spoke to Graphic Business, noted that previously, life was unbearable for them due to the lack of credit facilities to embark on their respective businesses and income-generating ventures.
Madam Atayila, who is a farmer, indicated that the bank has for the past seven years been supporting her women's group known as the "Yinne Me", meaning ‘Only God Knows’ group.
She explained that sometimes when the women harvested the maize and groundnuts, they either sold them at the markets or used them to prepare food to sell to rake in more revenue.
Madam Atayila stated that the women were able to pay their loans every month, as well as cater for the needs of their families.
Mr Mohammed, who is a welder, for his part said he started his business in Bolgatanga in 2006 and that BUCO Bank came to his aid in 2010.
As a result of that, he was able to expand his business to include the making of designed metal doors which customers preferred to the imported Chinese doors, building containers, metal gates and car bodyworks.
He intimated that he belonged to a group made up of traders, and that the bank gave out loans to them ranging from GH¢ 500 to GH¢ 9,000.
Initially, he said he could not purchase materials such as plates, pipes, bars and iron rods among others in large quantities to do his work.
Mr Mohammed stated that currently because of the interventions he was enjoying from the bank, he was able to pay his children's school fees, repay the loans and save at the BUCO Bank.
The General Manager of BUCO Bank, Alhaji Hayatudeen Awudu, indicated that the bank had shown an enviable and tremendous growth over the years and continued to meet all statutory requirements of the Bank of Ghana.
"The bank continues to be one of the best-managed rural financial institutions in the country," he further noted.
He said its vision was to be a strong life-changing financial institution that guaranteed financial comfort, confidence and independence of stakeholders.
The bank's mission, he observed, was to provide excellent financial services that continuously increased shareholder value by employing and maintaining competent and motivated workforce whose output exceeded the expectations of customers and better served the community.