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24.11.2008 Business & Finance

Builsa Community Bank making strides

By myjoyonline

The Builsa Community Bank realised 98,864.07 Ghana cedis net profit before tax as at October 31 this year, and projects that the profit margin would hit the 130,000 Ghana cedi mark by December 31 2008.

The bank's net profit in 2007 stood at 73,301 Ghana cedis, representing a 170 per cent increase over the previous year's figure of 27,204 Ghana cedis.

Its deposits for 2007 amounted to 1,672,110 Ghana cedis, as against 930,768 Ghana cedis in 2006, recording an increase of 73 per cent. Loans given out in 2007 totalled 1,102,535 Ghana cedis, representing a 96 per cent increase over that of 2006 which stood at 562,344 Ghana cedis.

Mr Edward Atagabey, chairman of the bank's board of directors, announced this at the ninth annual general meeting (AGM) of the bank in Sandema at the weekend.

He said even though the year 2007 saw an upsurge in the opening of many branches in the rural areas by big banks to compete with rural and community banks, The Builsa Community Bank was able to weather the storm with remarkable operational results.

Mr Atagabey said for the year ending 2007, the bank expended 2,619 Ghana cedis to support education, culture, agriculture, funeral donations and other social responsibilities to communities in its catchments area, as against 1,420 Ghana cedis the previous year.

He said work on the bank's new premises, towards whose completion a loan facility of 200,000 Ghana cedis had been secured from the ARB Apex Bank, was 90 per cent complete and that the bank expected to move into the new building within the first quarter of 2009.

On loan recovery, the Board Chairman conceded that it had been one area of difficulty for the bank over the years.

He noted that the recovery of overdue loans through court action had to be suspended temporarily due to the devastating effects of floods on farmers and traders in the area.

“However, the court action will commence in January 2009,” he said, and that the bank would in addition, employ the services of agricultural extension workers to help retrieve those loans on a 10 per cent commission basis.

Mr George Annor, Manager of the Bolgatanga Branch of ARB Apex Bank who represented Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu, Managing Director of Apex Bank at the function, indicated that the ARB Apex Bank was established to support rural and community banks to realize their full potential particularly to enable those banks to reduce poverty in the communities they operated.

“Poverty is a socio-economic problem, and one of the effective and powerful tools of reducing poverty is microfinance,” Mr Annor observed, adding that Builsa Community Bank could significantly reduce poverty in its area of operation and ensure its own sustainability, through micro-financing.

He lauded the performance of the bank which he described as 'reassuring', considering the intense competition that currently prevailed in the banking industry.

He urged the bank's management to set up an Internal Audit Department to help prevent the incidence of fraud and other irregularities that could threaten the bank's efficiency.

Mr Abu Sandow, Manager of the Builsa Community Bank underscored the importance of good customer care, and said one of the secrets of his bank's success story was the extra attention it gave to customers, thereby enabling it to retain existing ones while winning new ones.

“It is neither the shareholders nor the bank's staff who bring in the money, but the customers,” he emphasized, and urged the bank's workers to be honest, courteous, and diligent in their dealings with customers at all times.

The bank's management used the occasion to award two individuals and a women's group for their outstanding transaction records.

Madam Lariba Appo and Mr Clement Abakasi both from Sandema, received 'Best Individual Loans Customer' and 'Best Depositor/Savings' awards respectively, while the Soyeya Zongo Women's Association from Bolgatanga Municipality was adjudged the best micro-finance group. They all received presents and certificates.

Three of the bank's staff, including the branch manager, were honoured in recognition of their long and meritorious services to their organisation and the local community.