Sekyere Rural Bank in Ashanti made a profit before tax, increasing from 2.3 billion cedis in 2005 to three billion cedis for the year 2006, an increase of 33 per cent.
Mr. Kwame Dapaah-Siakwan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank, who announced this said total outstanding loans, overdrafts and other advances also increased significantly from 22.7 billion cedis in 2005 to 38.6 billion cedis in 2006, an increase of 69 per cent in the year under review.
He was presenting a report on the major areas of operations at the bank's 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders of the Bank at Jamasi in the Afigya-Sekyere district on Friday.
The Chairman gave the breakdown of the loans and overdrafts as 401 million cedis million cedis going into agriculture, 2.1 billion cedis for cottage industry, 102 million cedis for transport, with 8.7 billion cedis going into trading and 27.2 billion cedis for other areas.
Mr. Dapaah-Siakwan hinted that the Bank's total assets grew by 35.7 per cent from 57.7 billion cedis to 78.3 billion cedis in the year under review, while total deposits also rose from 47.1 billion cedis to 64.2 billion cedis, an increase of 36 per cent.
He indicated that as part of the Bank's corporate responsibility, an amount of 137 million cedis was spent in the provision of educational infrastructure, health, refurbishing Jamasi Police station, information services, and contribution towards the national farmers' day.
He told the shareholders that the Bank maintained its membership of the Ghana Club 100 Awards, improving on its performance from the 68th position in 2005 to 58th place, adding that, it was the wish of the bank to continue to be part of the prestigious Club and called for their support.
Mr. Seth Ankrah, Manager, ARB Apex Bank, Kumasi, in a speech read on behalf of Mr. Emmanuel Kwapong, Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank said the government in collaboration with the Central Bank would introduce a new payment solution which would depend greatly on Card-System called E-ZWICH in April next year.
To this end, he said a new wholly company of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) called Ghana Inter bank Payment Solutions System (GHIPPS) has been set up to ensure full implementation of the system.
Mr. Kwapong stressed that the ARB Apex Bank, as the Central bank of the rural banks has taken the necessary steps to ensure full participation of the rural banks, adding that, training on the system will start early next year to ensure full implementation and readiness for kick starting before the end of March 2008.
Mr. Kwadwo Obese-Antwi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the bank expressed concern about delays in repayment of loans and appealed to all defaulters to endeavour to settle their indebtedness to help increase the profitability of the bank.
He also called on the government to channel more resources to the rural banks so that they could effectively help to reduce poverty among the rural-folks.