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31.10.2008 Business & Finance

BoG moves to make cheque clearing easier

By The Statesman

The Bank of Ghana would soon put into operation the Codeline Cheque Truncation System to address difficulties being encountered by banks in carrying cheques for clearance at the Bank's Clearing Houses.

This automated clearing system which forms part of Bank of Ghana"s National Payment and Settlement Reforms Project would also facilitate transfer of funds and financial data electronically since all financial institutions in the country would be hooked to it.

The Western Regional Manager of BoG, C K Sefa, disclosed this at the launch of this year's Rural Banking Week celebration in Takoradi under the theme "Rural Banking, a Novelty in Banking, the way Forward.'

The event, which also coincided with World Thrift Day celebrated on 31 October every year, is used to create awareness about the importance of saving.

Mr Sefa entreated Rural and Community banks to comply with the new system when it takes off to enable them expand their operations, reduce operational cost and also enhance the overall efficiency and speed of operations.

This way, he said they would be abreast with the rapid technological changes taking place in retail banking.

Mr Sefa also urged the RCBs to develop policies at their catchment areas and pursue strategies that would increase their profit margin to enable them become financially strong to compete favourably with the well -established financial institutions in the country.

The President of the Western Regional Chapter of the Association of Rural and Community Banks, Nat Arthur, also advised the banks to take advantage of the oil discovery at the West of Cape Three Points to re-engineer and re-position their operations before extraction of the oil begins.

In his view, this could be done through mergers and acquisition of assets by some of the banks which are yet to find their feet in the business.

Mr Arthur noted that such a move would not only help the banks to recapitalise and build up their operations but also strengthen them to become profitable to stand the test of time.

He asked the well-established banks not to see the emergence of a number of universal and non-banking institutions across the length and breadth of the country as a threat to their operations since competition brings about perfection.

In a keynote address read on his behalf, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, George Gyan Baffour, advised boards and managements of the various RCBs to be guided by the revised regulations of rural and community banks to assist them become profitable and effective rural financial intermediaries.

He also stressed the need for the banks to mobilise more savings.

The Acting National President of the Association, Rose Newman, had earlier disclosed that the nation's banks, as at June this year had mobilised a total deposit of GH¢31,451 million, with a greater chunk of the money coming from rural and community banks.

The Association of Rural and Community Banks which was formed in 1981 with thirty-one members can now boast of one-hundred and twenty-nine members.

Some of the activities marking this year's celebration taking place for the first time in the Western Region are Radio Talk Shows, Floats and donations to inmates of Special schools in Sekondi-Takoradi.