Lower Pra Rural Bank makes progress

BY: Samuel K. Obour

The Lower Pra Rural Bank in Shama in the Western Region made a profit of GH¢2,068,203 by the end of December 31, 2012, as against GH¢1,219,494 in 2011.

During the period under review, the bank’s total deposits increased from GH¢28.3 million in 2011 to GH¢37.3 million in 2012, representing an increase of 32 per cent.

This is an indication of the bank’s rigorous deposit mobilisation drive and the extent of patronage by the communities in the bank’s catchment area.

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The total advances disbursed by the bank under its lending programme in 2012 was GH¢28.9 million as against GH¢ 15 million in 2011, representing an increase of 93 per cent.

The bank’s total assets as at December 31, 2012 was GH¢43.6 million as against GH¢32.6 million in 2011, representing an increase of 34 per cent.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lower Pra Rural Bank Limited, Mr Nathaniel Arthur, announced these at the 25th annual general meeting of shareholders of the bank at Shama at the weekend.

He said the total amount to be paid to shareholders as dividend was GH¢ 391,481.00 for the year 2012; the highest to be paid so far in the rural banking industry.

He also said the bank was continuously pursuing its policy of prudent investment to maximise returns on shareholders’ funds, explaining that the total investment in treasury bills as at the end of December 31, 2012 was GH¢15.6 million as compared to GH¢10.6 million in 2011, representing an increase of 47 per cent.

Mr Arthur added that the bank, in partnership with Freedom From Hunger (FFH), a non governmental organisation, established the Women in Development (WID) project in 1992.

The project, he said, consisted of women groups formed to develop savings culture among members.

He further explained that 142 credit-worthy savings associations had been formed with a total membership of 2,175, as at December 31, 2012.

He said the bank granted loans totaling GH¢1,887,400 to the women groups in the year under review, adding that the Women in Development was contributing meaningfully to the growth of the bank.

Mr Arthur said the bank introduced the traditional ‘susu’ scheme to assist people living within the bank’s catchment area to enable them to solicit for loans at a reasonable interest rate.

He said the total loans for the ‘susu’ contributors amounted to GH¢7,050,000,while their total savings stood at GH¢6,613,812 as at December 31, 2012.

Mr Arthur said in line with the bank’s vision to promote community development in its catchment area, contributions amounting to GH¢438,433 were made in 2012 to support the development activities of the communities in the catchment area in the areas of education, health and community-initiated projects.

The Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank Limited, Mr Kwadwo Aye Kusi, said the bank was developing a new strategic plan for the period 2014-2018 that was focused on providing efficient services to the rural and community banks for improved customer satisfaction and creating a platform in which the unbanked and under-banked may participate.

The new direction of the ARB Apex Bank, he said, would certainly include an enhanced ICT platform to support the rural and community banks (RCBs) and a multi-channel delivery strategy.

Also,he said the management of the ARB Apex Bank had reduced the interest rates on its lending to the RCBs from 20 per cent to 15 per cent.

According to Mr Kusi, the cash holdings of branches of the ARB Apex Bank had been increased to enable the RCBs to access cash within shorter periods after notification.

By Kwame Asiedu Marfo/Daily Graphic/Ghana