Ho, April 25, GNA - Ashanti remained the prime region with regards to rural banking, having mobilised 419.65 billion cedis (35.08%) of the 1.196 trillion cedis mobilised by the rural banking sector as at September 2004.
Mr Godfried Odame Asare, Chief Executive Officer of the Atwimakwanwoma Rural Bank, said this in a report on the performance of rural banks in Ashanti at the 4th Managers' Conference of the ARB Apex Bank Limited and Rural and Community banks at the weekend in Ho. He said total assets of rural banks in Ashanti were 523.48 billion cedis, which is 32.92 per cent of total national assets of 1.596 trillion cedis.
Mr Asare said while total loans and advances portfolio in the sector amounted to 557.71 billion cedis, Ashanti granted 169.06 billion cedis representing 30.31 per cent of the national total. He said statistics indicate that total investments by rural banks in Ashanti totalled 235.91 billion cedis, 36.54 per cent, as against the national performance of 645.52 billion cedis.
Mr Asare said Ashanti declared a profit of 22.43 billion cedis as at September 30, 2004, adding that seven out of the 12 rural banks in the 2003 Ghana Club 100 are from the Ashanti Region. Mr Asare said challenges facing the rural banks included how to retain staff, reduce cost and developing evaluation methods to measure their impact.
The others are combating fraud, achieving high loan repayment performance and adapting to today's more complex banking regime. "One major problem which needs to be addressed is with the use of rural bank statements to embassies for visa. The Apex should take a critical look at this issue as it tends to dent the image of rural banks".
He said the Apex Link Funds Transfer under the aegis of the ARP Apex Bank had caught on very fast with customers in the Ashanti Region. He, however, called on officials of rural banks to take extra security measures to check the identity of people calling to clear moneys transferred as some of the driving licences and passports they present as identification could be fictitious.