Bank Manager Calls For Micro Finance Bank
The General Manager of the Wamfie Rural Bank, in the Brong Ahafo Region, Nana Yaw Benneh, has called for the setting up of a bank to only monitor and control micro-finance activities in the country.
He explained that the establishment of such a bank would facilitate the access to micro finance funds and its proper investment, which would subsequently lead to the eradication of poverty.
Speaking at the launch of the ‘SIEFA’ product of the bank, he called for the increase of lending funds for micro activities with proper supervision through Rural and Community Banks (RCBs).
The ‘SIEFA’ product which was introduced in July 2002 has the aim of providing savings, micro finance credit and other financial services to the people, especially women living in the bank’s catchment area.
‘SIEFA’, which literally means ‘save and take’ had an initial client membership of 90, and now has a total membership of over 2,300 with 1,267 of them being women.
Total loans disbursed to members of the scheme as at December 2006, stood at ¢5,303,454,000. Nana Benneh also suggested that government institutions such as schools, should patronize goods and services provided by micro finance clients, whilst experts such as lawyers, doctors, social welfare officers, bankers, accountants and ministers offer free services to micro finance clients on regular basis.
The General Manager pointed out that to alleviate the plight of their clients, the bank is creating a viable linkage system within its catchment areas to provide good market grounds.
“The bank is now going to provide its clients business development skills, marketing techniques, prudent use of credit facilities and basic accounting programmes”, he said.
He added that the plans to offer free of charge, legal, health, social obligations and other counseling services to its clients by contacting experts to handle such issues.
The bank also hopes to release funds to clients not later than three days after payment of previous facility with the period of disbursement to be determined by the clients themselves.
He noted that the bank at the moment has a separate desk and office for micro finance activities at Wamfie and in Sunyani, whilst plans are underway for similar activities at other agencies to render faster services.
Earlier in the day, the SIEFA group undertook a two hour clean up exercise within Sunyani and donated items worth about ¢5million to the Sunyani Central Prisons.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Ignatius Bafour-Awuah, who graced the occasion with his experience as a banker, called for the habit of regular savings at the banks and also urged bank clients to regularly access loan facilities from the banks since the “banks keep our monies for businesses and gain profits on them to enable other clients benefit from loan facilities”.
The Regional Minister, however cautioned the business community not to abuse loan facilities granted by rural banks, because that could lead to the collapse of most banks, which could in the long run affect government’s efforts at fighting poverty, particularly in the rural areas.