Rural Banks in the Eastern Region continue to post impressive profits for the 2005 financial year, rekindling optimism that rural banks remain a backbone for the establishment of cottage industries to generate high yielding jobs in the region.
The New Tafo-based Adonten Community Bank (ACB) announced a profit of 583.7 million cedis in 2005, which is a 28 per cent increase over 2004 figure of 443.9 million cedis.
Similarly, the Nankese-based South Akim Rural Bank(SARB) netted a profit of 1.142 billion cedis during the same period which is a 33 per cent surge in 2004's profit of 857 million cedis while the Manya Krobo Rural Bank based at Krobo Odumase also gained 2.083 billion cedis which is in excess of 50 per cent over the previous year's profit.
Addressing shareholders of the ACB at its Annual General Meeting at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana at New Tafo on Saturday, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Osabarima Kena Ampaw, said the impressive performance of the bank was the result of prudent investment and management practices.
According to him, the operations of the bank had not been adversely affected by the dramatic drop in its traditional source of income, Government issued Treasury Bills.
Treasury Bills were the main source of income for banks in Ghana, however, following Government's decision to lessen its dependence on domestic burrowing and free resources for private borrowing, profits on that facility had been declining for most banks.
Osabarima Ampaw said to be a leader in the development of the people, the bank had increased by 42 per cent, advances it granted its patrons to 4.907 billion cedis from the previous year's figure of 3.443 cedis, while stated capital grew by a similar margin from 270 million cedis in 2004 to 394 million cedis in 2005.
Deposits, he said, also increased by 22 per cent from 8.264 billion cedis to 10.053 billion cedis in 2005 and as a result, the bank declared a dividend of 10, 000 cedis per share.
Nana Ampaw was, however, not happy with the increase of bad debts which currently stood at 114 per cent and the house consequently ordered that a task force be formed to go round and retrieve all such unpaid monies for the debt not to become a drag on the future performance of the bank.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr E.K. Kwapong, Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank Limited, charged rural banks to adopt aggressive yet flexible approaches in order to increase their bottom-line and add value to shareholders funds so they were not crowded out in a fierce banking environment.
He charged the management of the Adonten Community Bank to enhance their product base by granting good advances to enterprises as well as increase their micro-finance operations in order to improve the livelihood of the rural poor and further promote the rapid development of the rural communities.
Mr Kwapong also urged them to re-energize products like the Apex Link and 'Effie Ne Fie', which are among many products that sought to make easy transfer of cash in rural areas and the mobilization of excess liquidity especially, following the gradual computerization of Rural Banks.
Mr Kwapong urged the banks to ensure that facilities at their premises comply with provisions in the People With Disability Act so as make banking services appealing to with disabilities.
A Director of the bank who had been appointed as Ghana's Ambassador to Germany, Mr Grant Ohemeng Kesse, was honoured by the shareholders for his immense contribution to the growth of the bank.
In a speech, Mr Kesse thanked the shareholders of the honour and reiterated his commitment to the further expansion of the bank wherever he might find himself.
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