THE Wamfie Rural Bank in the Dormaa East District of the Brong Ahafo Region is one of the few rural and community banks (RCBs) in the region to meet the Bank of Ghana (BOG) statutory requirement for all RCBs to hold a minimum share capital of GH¢150,000.00 by the end of 2010.
The BOG expects that any bank which cannot meet the minimum share capital by the end of 2010 would be acquired by another viable RCB or merge with another bank to form a new bank.
“It is against this background that we are urging shareholders of all RCBs in the region to buy more shares to enable their banks to meet the BOG requirement for the stipulated period to risk being acquired by another bank or merger which would result in the lost of identity”.
The Vice President of the Brong Ahafo (BA) Chapter of the Association of Rural Banks (ARBs), Mr Kofi Bonsu Boakye-Boateng, who was speaking at the 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders of the bank held at Wamfie over the weekend, commended the bank for meeting the BOG requirement.
“Notwithstanding this achievement, the BA chapter council wishes to appeal to shareholders of the bank to inject fresh and additional capital by buying more shares to consolidate the position, and enjoy higher dividend payments,” he noted.
Mr Boakye-Boateng, however, advised the boards and management teams of the various RCBs in the region to endeavour to honour their promises of paying some dividends to their shareholders at the end of relatively good performing years to encourage them to acquire additional ordinary shares.
The vice president urged RCBs in the region to improve their internal control mechanisms by strengthening their internal audit units with the requisite input and resources needed for effective performance and also to prevent fraud that had resulted in the liquidation of most rural banks in recent times.
Mr Boakye-Boateng further entreated rural banks in the region to endeavour to improve on their customer services in order to stand the aggressive competition in the banking sector.
He also advised the management of the banks to station qualified, trained and experienced staff at their agencies, in order to present good public image for new customers.
A community library project financed by the bank as part of its corporate social responsibility in its area of operation was inaugurated during the AGM.
Delivering his report, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the bank, Mr Herbert Morrison Adjei, said the bank recorded a net profit of GH¢66,909.53 during the year under review representing 27.97 per cent increase over the December 2007 figure of GH¢52,286.08.
He said the bank’s total deposits grew from GH¢2,064,204.81 in 2007 to GH¢2,090,661.49 in 2008, representing a percentage growth of one per cent, while its total assets also increased from GH¢3,110,574.80 in 2007 to GH¢3,194,581.31 in 2008, a positive variance of a 2.70 per cent.
Mr Adjei said the board of directors of the bank recommended the payment of dividend of GH¢4,000.00 for the year under review as against GH¢3,000.00 in 2007. He said total advances paid out increased from GH¢888,883.74 in 2007 to GH¢1,119,325.32 in 2008, representing an increase of 25.92 per cent.
The bank purchased Akuafo Cheques to the tune of GH¢402,668.26 in the 2008/2009 main season as against GH¢162,416.25 in 2007 showing a percentage increase of 149.92 per cent.
However, he said, the short-term investment of the bank decreased from GH¢687,000.00 in 2007 to GH¢587,000 in 2008, a decrease of 14.55 per cent.
Mr Adjei urged loan facility beneficiaries to repay to enable the bank to advance credits to others who were in dire need and pledged that the bank would continue to ensure good corporate governance and good ethics, comply with all statutory requirements and the Bank of Ghana and the Apex Bank’s directives.
The bank will also improve internal control measures and strengthen the internal audit unit as part of measures to safeguard the interest of the shareholders of the bank.
He further gave the assurance that the bank would continue to focus on the provision of short to medium-term credit facilities to salaried workers and also sensitise and encourage women’s group to take advantage of the bank’s attractive products and microfinance.
Mr Adjei also expressed his appreciation to all, especially the chief of Wamfie and his elders, Monsignor R. B. Mensah-Abrampah and those who bought shares at the inception of the bank in 1981, as well as the working relationship between the bank and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) under its Private Sector Development and SPEED Funding Facility.
In an address read on behalf of the Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank Limited, Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu, urged RCBs to institute risk management policies as a way of guarding against fraud and continue to improve on their services by providing in service training schemes for their staff.
Nana Owusu Ababio, the Benkumhene of Wamfie, for his part, said the presence of the bank in the area had help the people to cultivate the habit of savings and also help to reduce the risk involved in travelling long distances to other locations to access banking service.