Sunyani (B/A) Jan. 18 GNA - Mr. Kwabena Adjei Acheampong, Acting Director of Association of Rural Banks (ARB) has noted that the flexible credit policies and lending procedures of the banks had greatly relieved people in the rural areas of the harsh conditions of credits they received from the informal financial sector. He said the Association, having recognized the banks as partners in poverty alleviation and rapid rural development would help establish more rural banks.
Mr. Acheampong was addressing the 12th Biennial General Meeting of the Brong-Ahafo Chapter of the Association in Sunyani at the weekend. The meeting was on the theme, "Rural and Community Banks: Indispensable Partners In Alleviating Rural Poverty".
The acting Director urged regional chapters of the association to help facilitate the association's new role of identifying potential communities that would need rural banking services.
He announced that the 117 Rural/Community Banks made a total deposit of 1,146.11 billion cedis, with 1,715,741 depositors, as at the end of June 2004.
Loans and overdrafts granted to 212,872 beneficiaries during the same period was 458.54 billion cedis, Mr. Acheampong, said adding: "It is significant to note the beneficiaries were largely small-scale borrowers in the rural areas".
Mr. Acheampong said the Association had noted that weak management structure, weak internal control systems and non-adherence to uniform accounting guidelines and practices accounted for the poor performance of some rural banks.
He called on chapter executives to institute controls to nib in the bud negative activities of unscrupulous members of staff.
The acting Director announced that the association had drawn up a three-year corporate plan spanning from 2005 to 2007 to serve as a road-map to prosecute its new vision and mission.
He commended the boards and management teams of the banks within the Brong Ahafo Chapter for their good and steady progress in their operations.
Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive noted that rural banks had a major role to play for the success of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy programme.
He asked the banks to integrate the development agenda into their programmes and ensure an improvement in the living conditions of the rural people.
In a welcoming address, Mr. Yaw Wiredu-Peprah, President of the Brong Ahafo regional chapter, said the association was planning to organise seminars to help improve the competence of stakeholders.