The Lower Pra Rural Bank Limited has disbursed a total of GHc6,393,100 under the Susu Scheme.
The bank under the same scheme garnered savings of GHc17, 251,518, as of December 31, 2019.
Mr. Francis Mensah, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the bank at the 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Lower Pra Rural Bank Ltd held at Shama in Western Region, said the Susu scheme had become a major product forming 35 percent of the bank’s total customer base.
“The bank is stable and remains committed to reduce poverty in our catchment areas. We remain resilient and focused even in times of the COVID -19 pandemic.
Experts are saying that there are signs that the economy is on a rebound and even faster than anticipated. This is good news for us and the rural banks community,” noted.
He said: “Our 2020 third-quarter operational results suggest that prospects look good in spite of the effects of the COVD-19 pandemic. We have braced ourselves for the challenging task ahead and prepared to partner government in the implementation of its policy programmes,” he added.
Mr. Mensah said, the bank was aware of the increasingly keen competition and had strategically positioned itself to achieve favourable footholds in the banking industry.
He told shareholders that the bank’s total deposits increased from GHC84.4 million in 2018 to GHc 96.8 million, representing an increase of 15 percent the same as the previous year.
For investment, the Board Chairman indicated that Lower Pra Rural Bank continued to pursue prudent investments to maximise returns on shareholders’ funds and announced that total investment in cash securities as of December 31, 2019, was GHc27.36 million, against GHc28.4 million in 2018.
Total assets, Mr Mensah said, also amounted to GHc109.82 for last year as against GHc98.2 million in 2018, representing a 13 percent increase, while profitability on earnings also showed that total income recorded was GHc28.23 as against expenditure of GHc26.23 million resulting in a profit before tax of GHC2.01 million.
He expressed concern about the failure of some loan customers to service their loans fully or on schedule, noting that the past due loans were at a ratio of 2.11 percent, though low, was unacceptable.
He said, “The bank would vigorously pursue recalcitrant loan defaulters using all the necessary measures including court actions to recover all loans due We are compelled to take some customers to court.” Mr Mensah cautioned.
Meanwhile, shareholders have unanimously voted for Lower Pra Rural Bank Ltd to become a Public Liability Company (PLC).
The Western Regional Manager of ARB Apex Bank, Mrs Lucy Quansah, applauded the positive outlooks posted by Lower Pra and commended the bank for the growing trend of its deposits, noting that the AGM was special because of the advent of COVID- 19, which had changed the approach to organise events.
Mrs Quansah said: “We are not in normal times, therefore, your achievement is worth celebrating. The trend seems to follow an encouraging pattern where the global deposits of Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) have witnessed a steady growth in deposits from GHc 2.85 billion at the end of 2017 to GHc 3.88 billion, as at the end of 2019.
Despite the devastating impact of COVID -19, we have a modest level of growth in deposit from GHc 4.03 billion at the end of March 2020 to GHc 4.32 billion at the end of June.”
She added: “The banks in Western Region have been performing very well and witnessing a persistent growth in deposits over the past three years. Let us remain resolute and focused because we believe that with the completion of the banking sector clean-up, there are better days ahead of customs of Rural and Community Banks. It is our hope that Lower Pra Rural Bank will continue being a pacesetter in the Western Region.”