Business News of 2013-12-23

Upper Amenfi Rural Bank makes profit

Upper Amenfi Rural Bank Limited saw tremendous growth last year, with its profit before tax hitting GH¢ 641,604. That represents an 87.3 per cent increase over the year 2012’s figure of GH¢ 342,537.
The Board Chairman, Mr Robert Dickson Cobinnah, said the remarkable performance was achieved through prudent financial management and cost-cutting measures. He was addressing the 24th annual general meeting of shareholders at Ankwawso in the Amenfi Central District of the Western Region.
He said the bank’s total deposits increased from GH¢17,549,548.00 in 2011 to GH¢20,187,326.00 in 2012, representing a 15-per cent increase, and encouraged customers to continue patronising the bank to help move it forward.
Mr Cobinnah said its total assets increased from GH¢19,629,874 in 2011 to GH¢23,724,139 in 2012.
He said the shareholders’ (bank) funds grew by 43.90 per cent from GH¢1,361,894 in 2011 to GH¢1,959,993 in 2012, which showed that the bank’s resources were being used to increase the value of its shares.
Loans and advances also grew by 77.6 per cent - going up from GH¢5, 753,215 in 2011 to GH¢10, 216,486 in 2012.
The board chairman said the bank’s investment portfolio decreased from GH¢7,078,760 in 2011 to GH¢5,884,190 in 2012.
He said the board had not recommended the payment of cash dividends in 2012 but proposed the transfer of GH¢100,000 from an income surplus account to a stated capital account .
According to Mr Cobinnah, the banking industry continued to operate in a competitive environment with the proliferation of micro finance institutions, financial NGOs, automation of the banking industry like e-Zwich.
On their social responsibilities, the board chairman said the bank assisted some of the communities in their catchment area like Ankwaso, Boa-Amponsem Senior High School, Dunkwa Health Assistant Training School, Agona Amenfi. There was also a scholarship for shareholders’ wards.
The Deputy Managing Director of ARB APEX Bank Limited, Mr Duke Osam-Duodu, said the banking business had become very competitive. There was, therefore, the need for directors and managers of rural banks to adopt measures to face the challenges.
He said ARB APEX Bank had instituted an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) security policy to ensure that risks associated with the implementation of ICT products were reduced, adding that information security officers had been engaged to ensure compliance with laid-down policies to enhance effective banking practices.
He stated that internal control was designed to add verve and efficiency to the bank’s operations by minimising the incidence of irregularities such as fraud in the bank.
He said the ARB Apex Bank had reduced the interest rates on its lending to the rural banks from 20 to 15 per cent, and called on the banks to access the facility to enhance their services.
Mr Osam-Duodu urged the board to ensure that good compensation packages were paid to staff when high profits were recorded to ensure their retention and improved efficiency in performance.