Sefwi-Kaase (W/R), Nov. 21, GNA - Kaaseman Rural Bank at Sefwi-Kaase in the Western Region made a net operating profit before tax of 1,873 billion cedis for the financial year ended 2003, as against a net profit of 809 million cedis in the year 2002.
The 2003 National Best Rural Bank was the Sekondi Lower Pra Rural Bank, also in the Western Region.
The Kaaseman's 2003 year figure represents an increase profit of over 222 per cent made by the bank over the previous year. Mr. Kwame Twumasi-Ankrah, Chairman of the nine-member Board of Directors of the Bank announced this when giving a report on an account of the Bank's stewardship for the financial year ended December 31 2003 at the 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Shareholders of the Bank at Sefwi-Kaase on Saturday.
The Chairman's Report signed jointly by him and Mr. David King Gbeblewu, Chief Manager of the Bank highlighted on the Bank's developments over the period in major financial indicators such as total deposits mobilized, total loans and overdrafts granted, Akuafo Cheques purchased, Investments in Treasury Bills, Profits or losses before tax, Proposed Dividends, Social Responsibilities and Operational problems encountered during the period under review.
Mr.Twumasi-Ankrah added amidst applause by the shareholders at the meeting that by its tremendous achievement, the administrative authority of Rural Banks in the country had adjudged Kaaseman Rural Bank the second Best Rural Bank amongst the 119 Rural Banks in Ghana
He said by taking the decision to place Kaaseman at the second position on the ladder, the national body controlling Rural Banks in the country took cognisance of the 15 per cent Government Tax yet to be deducted from the 1.873 billion cedis net operating profit and obviously realized that still Kaaseman's position on the ladder remained unshakable as the national second best rural bank.
Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said the bank's total deposit increased from 20.7 billion cedis in the year 2002 to 29.4 billion cedis as at the close of December 2003 showing an increase of 42 percent over the previous year's deposits.
The Bank's total loans and overdrafts granted to all sectors of the rural economy, including Agriculture, Cottage Industries, Trade and customer salaried workers increased from four billion cedis in 2002 to 8.3 billion cedis in 2003.
On investments Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said one of the Bank's major income sources was short-term investment in Treasury Bills stressing that within the period in question the Bank invested a total of 10.8 billion cedis in Treasury Bills.
He said, it was gratifying to learn that the Bank continued to play its leading role in Akuafo Cheque purchases in the cocoa industry, adding that during the 2003/2004 Main Cocoa Crop Season, Kaaseman hit a record high purchases of 171 billion cedis of the Cheques as against 52 billion cedis purchased a year before, representing almost 230 percent increase over the previous year's purchases.
Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah registered the Bank's gratitude to all hardworking cocoa farmer customers and the licensed cocoa buying companies in the bank's catchment area for their massive patronage. On Shareholders Dividends Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah further announced that the Board proposed the declaration of 50 percent, working out as one cedi per share totalling 317,173,851 million cedis to be paid out to shareholders.
He said for the 16 years that the Bank had been in existence it had not shirk its social responsibilities to the communities in which it operates.
During the period under consideration, the Bank made development donations totalling almost 29 million cedis, he said.
They include 18 million cedis to Sefwi-Kaase community to support moulding of about 86 concrete electric poles for electrification project in the area, five million cedis for Nkrankwanta Electricity Project, One million cedis to Berekum Divisional Police for the renovation of their premises, 500 million cedis to Dormaa-Ahenkro Police Service for the rehabilitation of their District Headquarters and 500 million cedis to Drobo Police Service for renovation of their premises.
Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah however, said all had not been rosy for the bank and mentioned increasing loan defaults by customers as one of the most pressing problems facing the Bank, stressing that as at the close of the year 2003, total overdue loans increased from 376 million cedis in 2002 to 689 million cedis in 2003.
This situation, if not checked would end up eroding all the gains and progress the bank had made over the years, the Board Chairman said. He therefore appealed to defaulters to endeavour to repay their loans. Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah mentioned the reduction in Akuafo Cheque commission as one of the Bank's operational problems, saying that, while the general operational costs of the Cheques continued to rise, the official one percent commission paid to the purchasing Banks, including Kaaseman had been slashed by half.
He said the Bank was currently being paid only 0.5 percent on the face value of Cheques purchased noting that the reduction in Akuafo Cheque Commission was a very serious drawback on the Bank's income and for that matter its profitability.
Mr.Richard Mettle Addo, Head of the Training Department, ARB Apex Bank Limited, Accra noted that the establishment of the ARB Apex Bank had come to solve the specie or cash problems of the rural banks. Today, rural banks do not have to travel all the way to queue for cash in the centres as ARB Apex Bank supplies cash at the doorsteps of the rural banks with its own bullion vans, Mr Addo said.
The one advantage rural banks have gained as a result of the establishment of the ARB Apex Bank is the ability to invest funds for their customers at very short notice through ARB Apex Bank product referred to as Apex Certificate of Deposits (ACOD).
The ACOD investments are permitted from seven days, 15 days, 30 days and 60 days depending on the choice and mix of investments preferred by the rural banks concerned.
Mr. Addo expressed satisfaction about the performance of Kaaseman Bank over the past year, especially by the leap in the bank's profits before tax.
Nana Kwadwo Badu, Chief of Sefwi-Yawmatwa who was the guest of honour commended the pioneering role the late Nana Boafo of Sefwi-Kaase and other chiefs played in the establishment of Kaaseman Bank. Nana Badu recalled that until the birth of Kaaseman rural bank the only banking facility serving the communities in the Sefwi-Kaase area was at Wiawso.
The Yawmatwahene advised farmers in the cocoa growing area to comport themselves before, during and after the December 7 elections to ensure a peaceful exercise.
Since fresh nominations were not submitted for election of new board of directors at the close of nomination period prior to the AGM, the meeting unanimously approved of retention of all the current nine directors of the board for another term of office.