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17.06.2005 Business & Finance

Rural banks attracting more customers


Takoradi, June 17, GNA - The Association of Rural Banks (ARB) Apex Bank has a capital of 244.5 billion cedis belonging to all rural banks Mr Emmanuel Aseidu-Mantey, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana has said. He said to enable the Bank to play an effective role as the consolidated treasury manager of rural banks; "it has no alternative than to open its doors wider and allow more customers to benefit."

Mr Asiedu-Mantey was speaking at the opening of the Takoradi Branch of the Apex Bank on Friday. He said the performance of rural and community banks over the past three years was impressive, faster than usual and admitting new customers on a daily basis. This had resulted in an increase in the total assets of such banks from 518.19 billion cedis in 2001 to 1,798 billion cedis in 2004. This represents an increase of 247.03 percent, he said Mr Asiedu-Mantey said deposits increased from 381.27 billion cedis in 2001 to 1363.33 in 2004, representing an increase of 257.58 percent. He stressed that market share and banking industry indices showed that total investments of rural banks increased from 6.86 percent in 2001 to seven percent, representing 2.04 percent.

The First Deputy Governor said the ARP Apex Bank must make product development one of its key activities with the rural banks being the target beneficiaries. Mr Asiedu-Mantey said advertising of products and effective management support services aimed at making rural and community banks efficient and effective in service delivery was required.

"ARP Apex Bank must encourage banks to engage in internal audit and comply with procedures, practices and transform rural banks into authentic financial institutions," he added. He said the introduction of the Apex Link Domestic Funds Transfer had had great patronage and could negate the activities of armed robbers if traders patronised the product.

Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries said there was the urgent need for the establishment of more rural banks in the Northern regions. She said poverty within the area could be greatly reduced if more rural banks were established to cater for the needs of rural women. Mrs Asmah said her Ministry would disburse 30 billion cedis to fishermen who would venture into fish farming this year. She said the project could increase the fish availability and create employment opportunities for some people. Mrs Asmah called on rural banks to work closely with fishermen and assist them to access credit.