Mamfe-Akuapem, July 11, GNA - The Akuapem Rural Bank (ARB) recorded a pre-tax profit of 1.82 billion cedis last year, as against the 815 million cedis in 2002, showing an increase of over 123 per cent. The bank also increased its interest income by 84 per cent from 1.85 billion cedis to 3.4 billion cedis and raised its total assets by 85 per cent from 15,5 billion cedis to 24.5 billion cedis during the period under review.
The chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank, Dr (Mrs) Gloria Nikoi, announced this at the Banks 23rd Annual General Meeting at Mamfe-Akuapem on Saturday.
She said the bank's deposits grew by 50 per cent from 11.149 billion cedis to 16.691 billion cedis mainly from the savings made under its AKUSIKA product, a micro-savings and credit product based on the SUSU concept for traders and the youth.
Dr Nikoi said the bank mobilized savings also through its Banking-on-Wheels, Students Savings Scheme and the Women in Development programmes.
On its loans portfolio, she said it grew by 63 per cent from 3.2 billion cedis to 5.2 billion cedis during the period, adding that the number of customers who received loans and advances rose from 2,551 in 2002 to 2,958 with 1,442 of them (49 per cent) being women.
Dr. Nikoi, who is also the Chairman of the Council of the APEX Bank Limited, expressed the Akuapem Rural Bank's preparedness to support in the implementation of the government's Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) through institutions such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and the District Affairs.
On its social responsibility, the Chairman said it spent 49.7 million cedis as donations to basic schools, clinics and environmental organizations in its catchment area.
She said the bank had declared itself "disabled-friendly" by redesigning the entrance to the bank's premises to enable the physically-challenged enter and leave without difficulty.
The Managing Director of the APEX Bank Limited, Mr Emmanuel Kwapong, who commended the bank for its remarkable achievement at the time when interest rates were dropping, said it attested to the fact that the bank was being managed in the most professional manner with products that responded to the needs of the people in its catchment area.
He announced that the Council of the Association of Rural Banks had adopted qualifications for prospective directors to be appointed to the boards of the rural/community banks in the effort to promote efficient and effective management as required by law.
The qualifications required that the person should be a shareholder for not less than five years, possess a secondary or technical or teacher training leaving certificate, have a qualification or experience in areas such as agriculture, banking, accountancy, management, law or other relevant disciplines.
Mr Kwapong, who announced that the on-going computerization of rural and community banks would be completed next year, also advised the shareholders to avoid electing directors based on favouritism and nepotism but based on competence.
In the election of new directors, both Dr Nikoi and Mr J.P.B. Kumi, a vice chairman of the Board, were replaced on the 7-member Board by Mr F.T. Agyapong and Mr S.A. Odoi.