‘Rural/community banks need more support to drive local development’

BY: graphic.com.gh

The Acting Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank, Mr Alex Kwasi Awuah, has called on the rural communities to show more interest in the activities of the Rural and Community Banks (RCBs).

He said the impact of the RCBs on rural development had been significant and it was therefore important that community members gave them the necessary support to do more.

Mr Awuah made the call at the 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ahafo Community Bank at Kukuom in the Asunafo South District last Saturday.

Vigilance

While commending the Ahafo Community Bank for the modest gains made in spite of the challenges brought onto the banking sector by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Mr Awuah urged all the stakeholders to be vigilant to ensure that the bank continued to be well managed.

He appealed to the board, the workers and the shareholders to protect the interest of the bank in order to avoid liquidation.

Operations

Presenting the operational outcomes of the bank in the last financial year, the board chairman, Rev. Kofi Sakyi, said at the close of the financial year, the bank increased its total deposits by 30 per cent from GH¢12,421,428 in 2019 to GH¢16,163,690 in 2020 while assets increased by 22.66 per cent from GH¢14,985,241 in 2019 to GH¢18,380,479 in 2020.

Primary reserves was 10.41 per cent, which was above the Bank of Ghana (BoG) benchmark of eight per cent.

Besides, secondary reserve was 44.72 per cent in 2020 as against central bank’s requirement of 30 per cent.

The bank could not declare dividend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board chairman said total investment in treasury bills and other short-term investment increased by 90.24 per cent from GH¢3,158,500 in 2019 to GH¢6008,500 in 2020.

Challenges

All was not rosy as Rev. Sakyi stated that the bank experienced some challenges due to the reforms undertaken by the central bank.

According to him, most people misunderstood the reforms which created panic withdrawals and affected deposit mobilisation.

In addition, he said the COVID-19 pandemic had also affected the operations of the bank.

As a result, there were some adjustments to meet eventualities.

Assurance

Rev. Sakyi gave an assurance that the board, management and staff would work together to do their best to address challenges confronting the bank.

Among the strategies to overcome the challenges were capacity building, technological advancement and adaptation of best practices.

Commitment to serve

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr Pobi Antwi Donkor, said the bank had a commitment to effectively serve the people in its operational area with all seriousness.

He called on the people to patronise the services of the bank.