Mr Duke Osam-Duodu, the Deputy Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank, has asked
shareholders of rural and community banks to choose competent persons as Board of Directors to enhance the quality of services being provided by the banks.
He said since the success of banks depended on the quality of members of Boards and management, it was necessary to forward details of directors elected, to the Bank of Ghana through the Apex Bank for "fit and proper declaration before being brought on board".
Mr Osam-Duodu was speaking at the 17th Annual General Meeting of the Twifo Rural Bank Limited, at Twifo-Agona in the Central Region.
He stressed that shareholders should ensure that persons elected to serve on boards had better understanding and appreciation of the rural banking system and the ability to support development programmes in their catchment areas.
Mr. Osam-Duodu said that with the establishment of banks in the country by people from other West African countries coupled with aggressive expansion programmes by the local banks, there was the need for "aggressive and flexible approach to banking" in order to increase profit margins and to add value to shareholders' fund.
He expressed concern that only two of the 21 rural banks in the region had as at June this year, met the minimum capital of GH¢150,000.00 demanded by the Bank of Ghana.
Mr. Osam-Duodu said that the emerging competition in the banking sector was a reality that no rural bank could accomplish alone.
He called on the bank to introduce new banking schemes like micro-finance, agricultural insurance and the granting of "good advances" to companies, enterprises and individuals to improve socio-economic activities.
Mr. Osam-Duodu asked the bank to adopt effective internal control systems and to address customers' needs.
He said to operationalize the GH¢ 2000 loan ratification, all rural and community banks were required to develop credit policy manuals to guide them in their loan delivery processes and to submit monthly returns on loans granted.
In his report, the Chairman of the Board, Mr Jonas Osei Yankson, who was re-elected for another term of office, said the bank realized after tax profits of GH¢20,873.89 and GH¢17,584.00 in 2006 and 2007 respectively, while its capital base increased from GH¢188,562.00 in 2006 to GH¢206,416.00 in 2007, representing an increase of nine per cent.
Mr. Yankson said loans and salary advances granted, increased from GH¢801,600.00 in 2006 to GH¢1,421,991 in 2007, representing an increase of 41 per cent but expressed concern that about 70 per cent of the amount was yet to be recovered.
He advised defaulters to repay their loans since the bank would take strict measures to recover the money.
Mr. Yankson said that the bank would institute a scholarship scheme for brilliant but needy junior high school children who would obtain between aggregates six and eight and whose parents are customers with minimum shareholding of GH¢500.00.
Mr. Kwame Brenyah-Akrosuma, the newly appointed supervising manager of the bank, was introduced to the shareholders.