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22.05.2006 General News

APEX bank transfers over 750 billion into rural economy

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Accra, May 22, GNA - The ARB Apex Bank, the umbrella body of the country's rural banks has channelled over 750 billion cedis into the rural economy through its money transfer activities. The bank, which has the largest area network, said the amount came from its domestic money transfer product, "Apex Link" launched in 2003 and as the main agent for bigger banks in transmitting foreign remittances into the rural economy.

The Apex Link as at March this year had channelled 450.915 billion cedis with collaborating transfers amounting to 309.98 billion cedis. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Monday, Mr Emmanuel Kwapong, Managing Director of the Apex Bank said the bank would soon have an offshore account in the US to enable it position itself to mobilise foreign remittances to families and relatives of Ghanaians living abroad.

He said agreements have been signed between Apex bank and some reputable international money transfer organisations in the US and Netherlands to help reduce the cost of transferring remittances to relatives especially in the rural areas.

Mr. Kwapong said one of the agreements signed early this year with Placid Express, a money transmitting company based in New York would materialised next month after an offshore account has been opened. As part of the arrangements and sensitisation process to make the product attractive to Ghanaians in the US, the Managing Director said a tour was recently was organised to the US where he presented a paper on how the rural banking system was evolving in Ghana. He said follow-ups and further ground preparations were being made in the US as at now.

Mr Kwapong said Apex Bank's aim was to break the current practice where money transfer services are concentrated in the urban centres, thereby, forcing people to travel from the rural areas at huge transport costs to collect their remittances. He said the bank also intended to alleviate the problem of identification before remittances are released to the intended parties adding, "with direct links to our rural banks our parents can directly receive their money."

Mr. Kwapong also noted that plans were underway to further extend the remittance services to the UK, Germany, Italy and other parts of world where Ghanaians are residing and would like to remit funds to their relatives.