Business News of 2013-12-29

Rural banks advised to help address poverty

Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to rural and community banks to look beyond profit making and help to address chronic poverty, disease and ignorance; in their operational areas.
“I must commend rural and community banks for their immense contribution in helping to build the nation and I must also take this opportunity to appeal to you to look beyond profit making and help address chronic poverty in your operational areas,” he said.
Alhaji Fuseini made the appeal in Kumbungu on Saturday during the Eighth Annual General Meeting of the Bonzali Rural Bank Limited, where shareholders and management met to discuss successes chalked the previous year, and find ways to address its challenges.
He said women were very industrious and helped in the fight against poverty, diseases and ignorance, and urged the bank to identify hardworking and business- minded women and establish them by giving them soft loans.
He said: “If rural and community banks make a lot of profit but people within their operational areas are wallowing in poverty, then they are not serving the purpose that necessitated their establishment.”
Alhaji Fuseini commended the Bonzali Rural Bank for extending its services to areas where traditional banks were not venturing, saying; “I am reliably informed that your bank inaugurated a branch in Karaga this year as well as launched products and services including microfinance, which currently can boast of about 70 women beneficiaries”.
He said as management and shareholders met to take stock and plan for the future, it was important for management and the board to take pragmatic steps in expanding to other districts of the region.
The board must also consider more humane and relaxed conditions in dealing with the most vulnerable and the poor, he said.
Alhaji Fuseini said the Bonzali Rural Bank was a major stakeholder in the development of the Northern Region and entreated management to consider drawing effective strategies that would improve the lot of the people in the coming years.
He said the bank must also help the region to make judicious use of proceeds from the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, which was the new development vehicle envisioned to close the north-south development gap.
Alhaji Mahdi Abdulai, Board Chairman of the Bank, giving an overview of the bank’s performance, said though it faced stiff competition with the introduction of major banks into the Tamale Metropolis, it had performed creditably.
He said the ARB Apex Bank had rated the Bonzali Rural Bank as one of the leading banks in the three northern regions and also rated it among the most satisfactory 50 banks out of 137 across the country.
He said the bank recorded a profit after tax of Ghc360,092.99 representing 131.03 percent in 2012 as against Ghc155,856.81 recorded in 2011 while total assets grew from Ghc9,279,951.81 in 2011 to Ghc14,254,173.70 in 2012, representing 53.60 percent.
Deposits as at the year ending December 2012 was Ghc9,086,800.00 representing 57.23 percent as against Ghc5,779,545.00 in 2011 while share capital stood at Ghc191,715.00 representing four percent as against Ghc184,660.00 in 2011.
He, however, expressed concern about delays in repayment of loans and appealed to debtors to fulfill their part of the bargain by repaying their loans promptly to ensure the bank’s smooth running.
Alhaji Abdulai said there was a glimmer of hope for the bank to grow bigger and that plans were advanced to open agencies in Saboba and Chereponi while other agencies would be opened in Kukuo, Sakasaka and Sangnarigu in the Tamale Metropolis for enhanced operations.
Mr Kwadwo Aye Kusi, Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank, in a speech read for him, commended the Bonzali Rural Bank for the giant strides made in the banking sector, and advised management not to relax in efforts at improving service delivery.