Regional News Sun, 11 Jul 2010

Ahantaman Rural Bank announces profit of GH¢412,396 for 2009

Agona-Nkwanta (W/R), July 11, GNA - The Ahantaman Rural Bank Limited on Saturday announced a profit after tax of GH¢412,396 for 2009.

Mr Joshua Ackah, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank, said this at the 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bank at Agona Nkwanta.

He said in 2008, the bank recorded a profit after tax of GH¢403,457.

Mr Ackah said the total capital of the bank increased by 16 per cent during 2009 largely through retained earnings.

He said the total capital comprised shareholders equity of GH¢548,455 and GH¢1,160,597 retained earnings.

He said the bank intended to open at least 10 branches within its catchments area over the next five years.

"We are expanding the bank's branch network to accord accessibility to a large number of clientele and mobilize deposits to enhance the bank's margin," he added.

Mr Kwame Awuah Asante, vice chairman of the Board, who presented the report of the directors, said an amount of GH¢51,550 representing 12.5 per cent of the net profit after tax had been transferred to the General Reserve Fund in accordance with the Banking Act,2004 and the Banking Amendment Act, 2007.

He said the bank had invested in Ahabank Company Limited, wholly owned subsidiary that deals in the purchase and sale of general goods.

Mr Asante said the bank's total investment in the subsidiary as at the end of 2009 was GH¢10,000.

Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu, Managing Director of the Association of Rural Banks (ARB) Apex Bank, in an address read for him, said the Apex Bank with support from the Newgen Software Technologies, Asia's leader in Business Process Management Software, had developed software for the scanning and clearing of cheques online.

He said all operational centres of Rural and Community Banks (RCB) had been connected to the Head office of the Apex Bank for the scanning and clearing of cheques.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said clearing personnel of RCBs would no longer have to travel to Apex branch centres for clearing.

He said verification of signatures and balances shall be done at the RCBs operational centres and 93No Pay or Pay" decisions would be taken at the respective centres.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said one major area where RCBs could develop and create a unique marketing niche was microfinance business.

He said although almost all RCBs were operating some form of microfinance, 93we are still a sleeping giant who must be awakened from our slumber and begin to run".

Mr Osei-Bonsu reminded Board of Directors of RCBs of their responsibilities to continually ensure compliance with the Company Code, 1963, Banking Act, 2004, Apex Bank Limited Regulations, 2006, the Labour Act, Bank of Ghana Directives and bye-laws of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

He asked RCBs to improve their services to customers saying unnecessary delay in the payment of Apexlink transfers, the uncourteous behaviour of some staff towards illiterate customers and a lack of professionalism exhibited by the frontline personnel were some of the complaints levelled against RCBs.

Mr. Osei-Bonsu said today's banking was dependent on the provision of quality services to customers and without customers, the banks could not stay in business.

He said it was important for RCBs to address this issue by investing in training programmes that would help them improve on service delivery.

This could also help to create relationship officers for important corporate and big individual clients and build a good corporate image for the banks to ensure the loyalty of customers and patronage of their products.

Source: GNA