Rural banks charged to reposition amid Covid-19

ARB Apex Bank, the umbrella body of the 144 rural and community and community banks (RCB’s) in the country, has challenged its members to reposition following the Covid-19 disruptions and endeavour to put in the right structures to ensure their sustainability.

Addressing the 24th annual general meeting (AGM) of the Odwen Anoma Rural Bank at Abetifi in the Kwahu East District of the Eastern Region over the weekend, the head of Human Resource Unit of ARB Apex Bank, Ms. Francisca Dedei Afutu, who represented the Managing Director urged rural and community banks to take full advantage of the emerging trends to deliver better value to their customers.

“Of the major developments is the introduction of Mobile Banking by ARB Apex Bank for all RCB Customers. This means that with a mobile phone number, every customer can now have his/her account linked to their phone numbers to enable them move money from their phone wallets to their account numbers with the RCB and vice versa. This is a major leap for the esteemed customers of our banks,” she noted.

She encouraged all RCBs to sign all their customers onto this service to enable them enjoy the freedom of banking from the convenience of their phones.

Ms Afutu revealed that the ARB Apex Bank would soon launch its much touted Agency Banking, which would help bring more freedom to the valued customers of the RCBs and create more jobs through the recruitment of Bank Agents.

She asked RCBs to brace themselves up for a keener competitive environment particularly due to the threats posed by the major telecommunications companies and Financial Technology firms in mobile money transactions following advantages they offer their customers.

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“The lesson here for all players in the rural banking industry is that we can predict the future for our banks by planning strategically so that we are not overtaken by events,” she stressed.

A representative of the association of rural and community banks, Kwame Anim Somuah, urged members to endeavour to invest in technology to meet the current trends in banking.

The Vice Chairman of the board of directors, Lawyer Peter Hayibor, appealed to shareholders to continue to invest in the Bank by acquiring more shares in order to increase the stated capital of the bank and propel it to greater heights.

The Acting General Manager of the bank, Jerron Laryea, pledged the commitment of management and staff to work harder to improve the fortunes of the bank while commending the board of directors and shareholders for their co-operation, resilience and tremendous support.

The bank, which ranks 37th out of the 144 rural banks nationwide, recorded a Profit After Tax of GH¢733, 082 representing a 138.85% growth over that of the previous year.

By Solomon Wiredu||Ghana