The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is to assist fund the computerisation and installation of a Wide Area Network (WAN) to connect all the rural banks to the Apex Bank and the Bank of Ghana within three years.
The Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank Limited, Mr Emmanuel Kwapong, said the assistance would also help improve operational efficiency and the full integration of the rural banks in the national payment system.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf at the 18th Annual General Meeting of the Mumuradu Rural Bank Limited at Akim-Osino in the Fanteakwa District in the Central Region last Saturday.
Mr Kwapong announced that consultants have been engaged to come out with policies on Share Register Management and a Code of Conduct and Ethics for the rural banking industry to improve shareholders records and win public confidence about the staff of the banks.
He commended the Mumuadu Rural Bank for being among the few in the country to grant more loans than investing in government securities and urged borrowers to repay loans on time to enable the bank to grow and serve them.
Mr Kwapong urged shareholders of the rural banks to abide by the guidelines on the appointment of directors to the banks to ensure efficient management.
The chairman of the Board of the bank, Mr Seth Adom Asomaning, in his report said, the bank's total deposit increased from 18.56 billion cedis in 2004 to 23.0 billion cedis in 2005, an increase of 30.8 per cent, while the profit after tax rose from 898.4 million cedis to 951.5. cedis.
He said the bank advanced 15.2 billion cedis, up from 13.2. billion cedis, to 9,327 clients but regretted that the bank had problems with defaulting borrowers despite repeated reminders and announced that their names were being processed for prosecution.
Mr Asomaning said the bank supported the purchase of cocoa through the Akuafo Cheque totalling 15.468 billion cedis and said the computerisation of all the bank's agencies was completed in December last year.
He said the bank received from the African Development Foundation (ADF) 1,472,818,000 cedis out of the projected support of 1.905 billion cedis as at December 2005, saying it had disbursed the amount to qualified beneficiaries under the facility.
Under its High Forest Bio-diversity Conservation Project/ Community Investment Fund, Mr Asomaning said as at May this year, a total of 1.509 billion cedis had been disbursed to 443 people living within five miles radius of the Atiwa and Apedwa Forest Range.
The beneficiaries are to undertake a pilot project involving animal husbandry such as bee and snail keeping as alternative economic ventures to save the two forest ranges from destructive human activity.