Accra, March 29, GNA - Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) Limited on Tuesday declared a dividend of 375 cedis per share, representing an increase of 50 per cent over the previous year, but shareholders said the Bank could have achieved more.
The shareholders said with an impressive performance in interest income of 767,512 million cedis, the bank could have proposed more if a little bit efficiency had been injected to fine-tune the Banks cost structure.
Provision for bad and doubtful debts decreased by 14.6 per cent at 98,489 million cedis with a net profit after tax of 165,040 million cedis.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting in Accra, the Board Chairman of the Bank, Mr Kwabena Gyima Osei-Bonsu said despite the declining interest rate faced by the economy, the Company made a profit before tax of 234 billion cedis with a growth rate of 8.5 per cent over the previous year.
He said the Company's commitment to best practices and good corporate governance was beginning to pay dividend as budgeting, information technology and other modern management and principles gained acceptance and permeated various aspects of the Bank's operations.
Mr Osei-Bonsu said making GCB a customer-oriented and technology-driven Bank were key principles that would drive and shape the path of the Company in the ensuing years.
"...Utilising full capacity in banking technology would facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery and derive competitive advantage for the Bank. This is a major strategic theme, which we shall pursue vigorously.
"The Bank would put more emphasis on rationalising existing services and products to ensure they are more attractive and efficient through the application of improved technology."
Mr Osei-Bonsu said GCB would also work towards a cultural change to impact on attitudes, improved resourcefulness and efficiency of staff to make the Bank more customer-oriented.
For 2005, the Bank would continue to embark on pragmatic measures driven by the determination to ensure that shareholder value was maximised and customer satisfaction realised.
Mr Lawrence Adu-Mante, Acting Managing Director, said the satisfactory results achieved for the year under review were due to the generally improved performance of the economy and meaningful programmes adopted and implemented.
He said total assets of the GCB grew by 10 per cent from 5,094.68 billion cedis in 2003 to 5,607.0 billion cedis in 2004.
Total deposits increased from 3,183.8 billion cedis in 2003 to 4,265.7 billion cedis in 2004, representing 33.9 per cent increase. Mr Adu-Mante announced that the GCB had established a full division, which would see to the interest of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises saying, "the Bank's objective of increasing financial support to the non-traditional export remains strong".
He mentioned the introduction of Internet banking, development of new products peculiar to customer needs, rationalisation of GCB branch networks as some of the outlooks for the year.