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BoG urged to clarify relationship between Apex and rural banks

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Bank Of Ghana
Bank of Ghana

Mr. Samuel Romulus Okine, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Awutu EMASA Rural Bank Limited, has called on the Bank of Ghana to clarify the relationship between ARB Apex Bank and rural banks.

He said the Board wanted to be sure of the ARB Apex Bank’s role; whether it was a “regulator, supervisor or mother bank for rural banks.”

Mr. Okine sought for the clarification in an address delivered at the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the Bank at Awutu in the Central Region, attended by shareholders and chief executive officers of sister rural and community banks.

He said there were inconsistencies in the review teams of the Bank of Ghana’s report on affairs of rural banks and called for a mechanism to ensure consistency in the execution of their duties to help move rural banks forward.

On Governance, Mr. Okine asked for the reason why rural banks and other deposit takers institutions had separate governance directives.

The Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) was there to direct all deposit takers (banks) on their operations, he said, and that he saw no reason why there were differences in governance directives in the banking industry.

Mr. Okine, therefore, suggested a standard regulatory governance directive for all players in the banking sector.

The Board Chairman noted that whenever the systems were up-graded, transactions, which had not been originated from rural banks, at times reflected in their transactions space.
“There was a time when the system was upgraded, and a loan of 1,000 Ghana cedis reflected on the space of EMASA Rural Bank, which it did not originate,” he said, and called for such corrections to be made.

On Inter-Agencies and In-Companies; he emphasised the need for immediate action to address challenges surrounding the system in order that their balance would go to nil at the end of every year, to protect it from crashing.

Mr. Okine appealed to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to direct District and Municipal Assemblies to deposit their Common Fund with the bank, to boost its operations and corporate social responsibility.

He announced that the bank’s total operating income stood at GHC2, 873,183.00 in 2022, compared to GHC2,287,212.00 in 2021, representing about 20.39 per cent increase.
However, it made a loss of GHC720,736. 00 by December 31, 2022, saying that was because of continuous yearly bad debt provision of GHC850,000.00.

“I therefore take this opportunity to appeal to all customers who have defaulted in paying their debts to do well to settle their indebtedness,” the Chairman said.

The total deposit of the bank as at December 31, 2022, stood at GHC16, 363,170.00, representing about 12.32 per cent increase over the 2021 figure of GHC14, 567,901.00.
Loans and advances also stood at GHC4,662,117.00 in 2022, compared to CHC5,468,736.00 in 2021, representing a decrease of about 14.75 per cent.
He appealed to all customers who had defaulted in paying their debts to do well to settle that indebtedness.

The bank’s total investment increased from GHC2,320,634.00 in 2021 to CHC4,120,634.00 in 2022, representing about 77.56 per cent increase, while its assets increased from GHC16, 298.790.00 in 2021 to GHc17, 875,831.00 in 2022, with a growth of about 9.69 per cent.

Total deposits as at December 31, 2022, stood at GHC16, 363,170.00 representing about 12.32 per cent increase against GHC14, 567,901.00 in 2021.

Loans and advances also stood at GHC4,662,117.00 in 2022 against CHc5,468,736.00 in 2021, a decrease of about 14.75 per cent.

The Board Chairman said although the bank had achieved the GHC1,000.000.00 minimum capital requirement by the Bank of Ghana directives, it needed additional capital to enhance its operational activities.

He, thus, appealed to the chiefs, family heads, prominent personalities within the catchment area, staff, customers and non-customers to buy shares to help increase the share capital of the bank.

In a report presented by Mr. Ofei Agyekum on behalf of the Board, for the year ending December 31, 2022, Awutu EMASA Rural Bank Limited acknowledge the role corporate governance played in the sustained success of any organisation.

He said the Board was committed to ensuring that best practices in corporate governance remained a fundamental part of the culture and business of the bank to promote accountability, integrity, transparency, robustness, fairness and social responsibility, while maximising long term stakeholder value.

Mr. Samuel Osei, the Operations Manager of Apex Bank, said it was worrying for the Bank to read a loss of GHC720, 736.00 for the year 2022.

The loss, he noted, was attributed to the continuous yearly bad debt provision of GHC850, 000.00.

He said the Apex Bank believed the Board and Management of the bank must step up recovery efforts and urged its defaulting customers to settle their indebtedness quickly.
Mr. Osei suggested the bank pursued such defaulted customers using the services of an external debt collection company to help recover those loans.

“We believe that the Directors and Management could still push the frontiers of credit administration by developing more micro, small and medium enterprises and individual loan targeted at the expanding the informal economy in the area,” he said.
Although this would not be easy, with determination and focus, the Bank could be returned to its winning ways, he indicated.

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