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05.02.2009 Business & Finance

Bank of Ghana commended for raising stated capital of rural banks

By GNA

A cocoa farmer has commended the Bank of Ghana (BoG) for increasing the minimum capital requirement of Rural and Community Banks (RCB) saying it would guarantee customers' investments.

Opanyin Kwaku Agyabeng, the farmer and customer of the Mansoman Rural Bank, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday at Samreboi in the Western Region that the move would also strengthen the financial base of the RCBs.

According to him the lack of innovation and the refusal of many boards and management of banks to expand their client base with attractive products and services, had contributed to the poor performance of some RCBs.

Opanyin Agyabeng said at present only three out of the six agencies of Mansoman were operating because of poor management and appealed to the BoG and the ARB Apex bank to come to the bank's aid.

He said some customers of the bank have expressed worry over the continued closure of the agencies because it was seriously affecting their businesses.

He joined other customers and called on the management of the bank to come out publicly about what the actual situation on the ground is.

Some workers of the bank the Ghana News Agency spoke to at Takoradi on Monday said they had not been paid their salaries for more than three months.

In 1999, the bank nearly folded up following alleged embezzlement of 1.3 billion cedis by the then managing director.

When the GNA visited the bank's premises on Monday, the entrance as well as the back-doors were firmly locked and there was nobody around.

A customer, who was visibly disappointed, said she had gone to withdraw money to pay her son's school fees only to realise that the bank did not open for transaction.

Mr Eric Mintah, the Managing Director of the Apex Bank of Rural banks in Takoradi confirmed that the agency had liquidity problems since September in 2008.

He explained that the problem was as a result of the financial embezzlement that hit the bank.

He said a rumour that the bank was collapsing worsened the situation since customers started withdrawing their monies.

Mr Mintah said the Board of Directors of the bank and the shareholders have been notified of the challenges and suggested that the only option available was for them to raise the stated capital to enable it to resume full operation.

He said the BoG and the ARB Apex bank have also been notified of the problems.

On the issue of staff salaries, he said workers' salaries were paid through the Takoradi branch of the Apex Bank, adding that savings account holders would have to wait till the crisis was over.

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