Akim Achease, (E/R), Nov. 27, GNA - The South Birim Rural Bank at Akyem Achiase, made a profit of 930.1 million cedis before tax in 2004 as against 889 million cedis in 2003 despite stiff competition and falling interest rate on treasury bills. The Chairman of Board of Directors of the bank, Mr. Robert K. Amoah, announced this at the 20th annual general meeting of the bank at Akyem Achiase on Saturday.
He said the bank could have achieved more profit but the relative micro-economy environment with declining inflation and prime rate, though favourable, impacted negatively on their profit. Mr Amoah said total assets of the bank increased from 12.5 billion cedis in 2003 to 17 billion in 2004, adding that the bank purchased Akuafo cheques to the tune of nine billion cedis in 2004 as against 8.7 billion cedis in 2003, while stated capital increased from 365 billion cedis in 2003 to 456 billion cedis in 2004. He said the bank gave out 6.3 billion cedis financial assistance to its customers in 2004 as against 3.8 billion cedis in 2003, which went to agriculture, transport and trading sectors, as well as salary workers and women in development.
Mr Amoah said in view of the persistent refusal of some individual beneficiaries to honour their loan obligation on schedule, the bank was going to put more emphasis on group lending. The Manager of the bank, Mr Nimako Afrifa, appealed to the Birim South District Assembly to consider giving the poverty alleviation fund to groups instead of individuals to make retrieval of the loans easier, He also appealed to the assembly to give attention to the reactivation of a citrus factory at Oda Nkwanta to help generate employment and reduce poverty in the area.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank Limited, Mr Emmanuel K. Kwapong, expressed joy about the impressive performance of rural banks in deposit mobilization and increases in share capital.
He, however, reminded rural banks that they needed to do a lot more by way of organizational restructuring and effective credit administration so as to meet the challenges of the increasing complex and sophisticated business environment.
Mr Kwapong advised the management of the bank to seriously research into and develop commission-based products to boost their income since interest rates were currently going down drastically with improvement in the economy to make the bank financially sustainable. While appealing to shareholders to acquire more shares to make the banks stronger, he urged directors, management and staff to work as a team to enable them to achieve their set targets.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Frank Kwame Busumtwi, commended the bank on its efforts to fulfill its social responsibilities by offering bursaries to students of Akyem Achiase SSS and the provision of school desks for the Local Authority Primary School.
He appealed to the Board Members and Management to take the necessary steps to encourage and stimulate interest in their customers and the general public to save with the bank and purchase shares to improve the capital holding of the bank.