From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Wamfie
The General Manager of ARB Apex Bank, Mr. Kojo Mattah, has announced that plans are ongoing for the commencement of a ground-breaking ‘Agency Banking’ project.
According to him, the first phase is expected to sign up over 1,000 agents or agency bankers across the country.
“We are describing the project as ground-breaking, because it is expected to help rope in more unbanked and under-served members of the public into the digital and cash-lite banking revolution being championed by the Government of Ghana,” he said.
Mr. Mattah said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Ashanti Regional Branch Manager of ARB Apex Bank, Mr. George K. Annor, at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders of the bank at Wamfie in the Dormaa East District of the Bono Region.
“The Agency Banking is also expected to bring modern banking services to the doorsteps of the rural banker, who, either hitherto, felt shy to bank boldly with an RCB or felt excluded from modern and convenient banking methods. I urge all of us to look forward to and embrace the Agency Banking revolution,” he explained.
The Board Chairman of the Wamfie Rural Bank, Mr. Solomon Oppong-Twumasi, on his part, announced that as at August 31, 2019, the Wamfie Rural Bank Limited had recorded a total share capital of approximately GH¢1.45 million.
Mr. Oppong-Twumasi said the amount represents 30.85% more than the GH¢1 million minimum capital requirement by the Bank of Ghana.
The Central Bank has directed all rural and community banks (RCBs) to raise the GH¢1 million minimum capital requirement by the end of February 2020.
Mr Oppong-Twumasi said the achievement of the bank was a result of a transfer of GH¢400,000 from the bank’s income surplus to shore up its stated capital, as agreed at the 37th Annual General Meeting of shareholders, held at Wamfie.
As at the close of December 2018, the bank had a total share capital of a little over GH¢1.04 million, increasing marginally by 4.11% as compared to the 2017 figure of GH¢1,003,241.
The Board Chairman noted that the transfer of the GH¢400,000 to the stated capital was not a panacea to the needed capital the bank needs for its day-to-day operations, adding that the bank had developed strategies to help increase the share capital.
Among the strategies he mentioned include the pegging of the minimum total share value at GH¢100, indicating that the existing shareholders who fall below the new threshold have one year to meet it, or else the bank would buy those shares, while prospective shareholders must also endeavour to buy shares worth not less than GH¢100.
Generally, the Wamfie Rural Bank posted satisfactory performances across all the indicators. Total deposits grew by 18.31%, from GH¢13.68 million in 2017 to GH¢16.75 million in 2018.
The deposit growth fell short of the bank’s projection, but the Board Chairman said it was encouraging, judging from the challenges that inundated the banking sector during the period under review.
INVESTMENTS AND LOANS
The bank recorded a 22.03% increase in its investments portfolio, as it went up from GH¢3.13 million to GH¢4.01 million. Loans and advances equally soared by 20.41%, from GH¢8.46 million in 2017, as against GH¢10.63 million during the year under consideration.
The value of the bank’s fixed assets declined marginally by 5.42%, falling from GH¢273,868 to GH¢259,780.
The bank also posted a profit before tax of GH¢620,905, representing a growth of 15.81% over the 2017 profit of GH¢522,766.
Out of the profit, Mr. Oppong-Twumasi announced a proposed dividend of GH¢125,000, with each share earning GH¢0.0012.
He expressed appreciation to the management and staff of the bank for “their dedicated service” and contribution to the success of the institution.
He also thanked other stakeholders like customers, shareholders, Bank of Ghana, ARB Apex Bank and Association of Rural and Community Banks for their diverse contributions to the operations of the bank.
The Board Chairman noted that the bank would continue to pursue innovative ways to strengthen and develop its operations to maintain public confidence.