Out of the 133 Rural Banks operating in the country, Sonzele Rural Bank at Jirapa in the Upper West Region and Bosomtwi Rural Bank in the Ashanti Region, are rated as the most efficient rural banks in 2011.
The silver award was conferred on the two banks for their high level of efficiency under the fourth Ghana Business financial services excellence awards for last year.
Mr Albert Bosoro, Board chairman of Sonzele Rural Bank made this known in his report at the Annual General Meeting of the bank at Jirapa on Saturday.
The Bank achieved this feat even against a decrease in pre-tax profit of 27 per cent from GH¢287,146.00 in 2010 to GH¢208,512.00 in 2011.
Mr Bosoro attributed the reduction in profit to a decline in interest on Treasury Bills and the Central Bank’s directive to financial institutions to reduce their lending rates.
On loan recovery, he said the situation was 85 per cent satisfactory although harsh measures were seriously taken to recover outstanding loans.
To expand deposits and client base, the Board decided to make banking services available to more rural people.
The Bank, he said has commenced feasibility studies to open an Agency at the Wa campus of the University for Development Studies and other agencies in some of the newly created districts in the region.
As part of its social responsibility, the Bank donated a table top X’ ray processor costing GH¢26,000 to the Jirapa Hospital and gave out various sums of money to brilliant but needy students.
Mr Duke Osam-Duodu, Acting Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank Limited in a speech read on his behalf, commended the board, management team, staff, customers and share holders for the roles they played in the dazzling performance.
He said their success story should be based more on initiatives, innovations and major attributes that would continue to define their strategies.
He advised them to put in pragmatic measures and realistic programmes such as development of micro finance business, risk management and internal controls, staff training and project development and provision of quality customer service.
Mr Martin Bayor, Jirapa District Director of Education who is also a shareholder of the Bank called for a change in attitude and professional approach in all aspects of banking.