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02.12.2009 Business & Finance

Rural Banks Engage In Foreign Money Transfer

By Daily Graphic
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One hundred and twenty-four rural banks now deliver foreign money remittances through the Western Union Money Transfer system, with 350 payment points, Mr Duke Osam-Duodu, Deputy Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank, has said.

He said plans were underway to include the other banks as the service has brought a big relief to people in rural areas who used to travel to towns and cities before having access to money remitted from abroad.

Mr Osam-Duodu was addressing the 25th Anniversary and 21st Annual General Meeting of the Ahantaman Rural Bank at Agona Nkwanta, on Saturday.

He said the ARB Apex Bank was migrating its Apex Link Money Transfer product as well as the Western Union Product onto an ICT platform to improve upon its services.

Mr Osam-Duodu said the bank had detected some fraudulent activities of some interns and national service persons working with the bank.

These perpetrators, he said, intercept cheques for clearing, destroy statements collected from the Apex Bank Clearing Centres, clone and falsify advices and use the names of known persons at either the Apex Bank or Bank of Ghana to solicit assistance fraudulently from the rural banks.

Mr Osam-Duodu said in view of this, various circulars had been issued advising rural banks to be on the lookout for such fraudsters while rural bank managers check the validity of all credit advice from the Apex Bank and cheques with the value of more than GH¢1,000.

Mr John Dadzie, Chief Executive Officer of the bank, said it recorded a growth in its income of GH¢2,230,078 for 2008 as against GH¢1,982,134 for 2007.

He said this was against the backdrop of significant operational challenges from both external and internal sources. Mr Dadzie said the profit after tax, however, dropped from GH¢534,533 in 2007 to GH¢403,457 in 2008.

The reasons for the decline include poor performance of the bank's microfinance product, the Strategic Group Lending, which was launched in 2007.

He said most groups failed to repay credits advanced to them and the problem was deepened by poor monitoring of group activities because of the lack of logistics.

Mr Dadzie said growth in operating expenditure over income also hit the bank's financial performance in 2008 due to increase in staff costs and administrative expenses.

He said the strategies for 2009 are yielding positive results and the profit before tax by September 2009 stood at GH¢629,078.85.

Mr Dadzie said total assets grew from GH¢8,163,402 in 2007 to GH¢10,261,835 last year.

Mr Joshua Ackah, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the bank, said the directors had proposed a dividend of GH¢0.0151 per share amounting to GH¢242,326 as against a total of GH¢190,275 for 2007.

He said the bank spent GH¢17,257 in support of its corporate social responsibility in 2008 as against GH¢18,050 in 2007.

In its 25 years of operation, the bank has spent a total of GH¢59,075 in support of institutional and community development projects and programmes.

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