The Abokobi Area Rural Bank, one of the pioneer rural banks in Ghana, is to blaze the trail of emerging as the first to initiate a merger in the country to enable it survive the growing competition and challenges pose by bigger banks.
The bank, which has for the past five years maintained a consistent growth and good performance, was thrown this challenge at its 17th Annual General Meeting on Saturday at Abokobi, by the ARB Apex Bank, the umbrella body of Rural and Community Banks (RCBs).
Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu, the Managing Director of the Apex Bank, who said this noted, “You have been dynamic in developing new financial products and repackaging existing ones to meet the growing needs of your customers…
“It is my hope that Abokobi Area Rural Bank will blaze the trail as the birthplace of the first merged RCBs in the country by becoming the nucleus of a cluster of rural banks…in the Greater Accra Region,” he said.
The reason, Mr Bonsu noted was for Abokobi bank to set the pace for other RCBs and to allow it to survive in the face of the changing, challenging, competitive and turbulent landscape of the banking industry in country at present.
Banking business, he said, had become very competitive and risky, and urged RCBs to minimize risks through the adoption of effective risk management strategy.
He further lauded the Abokobi bank for expanding its reach in the microfinance sector with the provision of financial services custom made to low income persons.
The bank, which celebrates its silver jubilee anniversary next year, posted a net profit of GH¢63,854.00 out of which it declared a bonus share to its shareholders.
A shareholder of the bank with at least three shares would, therefore, receive an additional share to enable the bank to retain its profit for further expansion.
The 2008 profit, however, showed a decrease of 18.14 percent compared to 2007 because of significant increase in the provision for bad and doubtful debts for the year.
Mr Sam Clegg, the Board Chairman of the bank whose speech was read on his behalf, accepted the challenge and said the bank was bracing itself through sound banking practice and vigorous expansion of its operations.
He announced that the bank stated capital as at December 2008 stood at GH¢156,546 with its total assets rising from GH¢2.357.144 and GH¢2,411,544.
Shareholders fund, he said, went up at 55.5 per cent from GH¢233,010 to GH¢362.418 in 2007 and 2008 respectively, whilst total deposit rose by 6.36 percent from GH¢1,826,029 to GH¢1,942,260.
Mr Clegg said the bank has decided to finance its own computerization project whilst it waited for assistance from the Apex Bank.
Two board directors including the Chairman, who retired as members, were replaced by Mr Christian Gbikpo and Ms Naa Odofoley Nortey.
The bank use the occasion to launch its silver jubilee anniversary and inaugurated a planning committee comprising, Ms Matilda Bruce-Arthur, the Managing Director of the, Mr Jonathan Adamah, Assistant Manager Internal Audit, Mr Owusu Sekyere, a board member, and Mr Eric Budu and Mrs Esther Adjetey all of the bank.
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