Mr David Y. Kludje, Board Chairman of the Weto Rural Bank in the Volta Region, on Saturday assured shareholders of a bright future. "The future of Weto is great", he said at the 23rd. Annual General Meeting of the bank on Saturday. He indicated that the Bank's participation in the Millennium Challenge Account Project "offers a great reward to the Bank when well handled. We are poised to do just that".
Mr Kludje said the Bank has already disbursed the first allocation of GHC200,000 of the Agriculture Component of the Project (ACP) in July 2008. That he said "would immediately increase the worthy customer base among others". He said the world financial crisis also offered a window of opportunity.
Mr Kludje said the crisis has helped to slow down the invasion of the rural domain by the major banks, which were providing easy credit. "This would enable the Rural Banks to adjust their operations". Regarding the performance of the Bank in 2008, Mr Kludje said "despite the difficulties, we made 14.7 percent net profit gain". He said the Bank's assets increased by 35 percent from GHC1.66 million in 2007 to GHC2.24 million in 2008.
The Bank's Loan portfolio increased by 140 percent from 0.233 million in 2007 to GHC0.560 million in 2008 while investments grew by six percent to GHC0.99 million. Deposits however dropped from 80 percent to 75 percent. No dividends were declared because the bank could not meet the minimum share capital of GHC0.15 million, he said.
Mr Kludje advised customers to the Bank to refrain from dealing privately with employees of the bank because it would not accept liability for any financial losses they might incur in such unofficial transactions. He urged the shareholders to increase their shareholdings in order to strengthen the capital base of the bank.
In his address, Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu, Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank commended the Weto Rural Bank for "its modest performance in 2008 as against 2007. He said the Bank's ability to achieve 30 percent increase in deposits "shows how well the bank is performing in mobilizing funds, a sign of good customer relations". Mr Osei-Bonsu reminded the Board and Management of the intense competition in the banking sector. He urged the Bank to take the lead in forming the nucleus of a cluster of Rural Banks to merge in the Volta region "as a solution to survival in the face of the challenging, competitive and turbulent landscape of the banking industry".
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