The ARB Apex Bank has secured $8 million in grant from the World Bank to roll-out agency banking operations to expand rural and community banking.
The agency banking module is expected to rope in more than 1,000 agents across the country, offering a host of benefits to boost rural and community banks (RCBs) operations.
Starting next year, the project is also expected to bring the needed panacea and a sense of belonging to the millions of RBC customers to enhance effective banking.
This was in a speech read on behalf of Mr. Kojo Mattah, the Managing Director of ARB APEX Bank Limited at the 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nyakrom Rural Bank.
“A project consultant has been engaged to guide the execution, which is expected to position member banks to make a substantial stake in the country’s electronic cash and cash-line evolution,” Mr. Mattah said.
The MD noted that with agency banking, numerous rural customers could access a myriad of banking services without necessarily walking into “the sometimes imposing banking halls.”
Additionally, it could lead to the creation of thousands of jobs in the rural areas as small and medium scale businesses and shops would sign up to become bank agents for RCBs nationwide.
Mr Mattah commended the management of Nyakrom Rural bank, the first rural bank in Ghana, for the strenuous measures put in place to keep the bank afloat despite the turbulent financial challenges experienced during the year under review.
He urged the Bank to concentrate on the small and medium business segment because that was its hold.
Mr Mattah appealed to the rural and community banks to desist from investing in high-risk ventures due to the high potential of locking up their assets in non-recoverable investment portfolios.
Mr Timothy Osam Duodu, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nyakrom Rural Bank, said the total asset of the Bank increased from GH¢25,491,970 in 2017 to GH¢27,190,940 in 2018.
He said the Bank’s operational income rose from G¢S6,538,907 in 2017 to GH¢7,640,734 in 2018, representing a 14.10 percent increase but the net profit was not encouraging due to lock up investments with financial institutions.
The microfinance operations deposit of the Bank increased from GH¢4,883,612.95 in 2017 to GH¢5,967,953.49 in 2018, representing a 22.20 percent increase.
Mr. Osam Duodu said it disbursed a total of GH¢268,564 in 2017 and GH¢547,937 in 2018 as loans to cocoa farmers to increase cocoa production.
The Bank was able to meet the one million minimum capital requirement in 2017 with some excess as demanded by the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
The Board Chairman, however, appealed to shareholders to purchase additional shares as the BoG may ask for fresh injection of capital from rural and community banks in the future to avert the difficulty in looking for new minimum capital.
Mr. Arkhurst Yamoah, the Administrator of Central Regional Chapter of Association of Rural Banks, urged shareholders of rural banks not to dwell on titles to elect members to the board of directors but look for committed, hard-working, selfless and people with integrity to help sustain the rural banks.