He also said the total assets of the Association as at June stood at GHC 2,784.13, million while total credits was GHC2, 142.22 million.
Addressing the 19th Biennial General meeting of the ARB here at the weekend on the theme “40 years of rural banking: achievements, challenges and prospects,” Dr. Akowuah indicated that the total assets of Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) accounted for 3.1 per cent of total assets of the entire bank and non-banking industry in Ghana.
The meeting which brought together all heads of 141 rural and community banks nationwide was to discuss issues relevant to the development of rural banking sector and the nation as whole.
Dr Akowuah in his address said RCBs had impacted positively on the economy through the provision of financial support to players in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
.”The SME industry has been able to thrive through flexible loans payment from RCBs and hence the contribution of the RCBs to the economy cannot be overemphasised,” he said.
The President urged management of RCBs to shift from manual and embrace technological advancement in the banking system to attract and retain clients.
“In this regard, we encourage our members to invest in e-banking products as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), electronic payment cards and others.
We however, would want to sound a note of caution on the deployment of electronic banking products since technology is a necessary evil and therefore should be deployed with the best risk mitigation measures, “he said.
The Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs. Mona Quartey said that the impact of rural banks was manifested in the area of employment generation, increase in incomes, savings and education.
“Rural banks have become a growing and a vibrant part of the whole banking industry and the Ghanaian economy, aside the credits facilities which have helped in improving the living conditions of beneficiaries,” she said.
The Omanhene of Effutu Traditional Council, Neeye Gharey VII, called on management of rural banks to strengthen their security system to check activities of its staff.
He said the situation where staff of some rural banks abscond with monies belonging to their employers end up collapsing the operations of the bank, hence, the need to scrutinise staff who are employed to manage the banks.
From Bernard Benghan, Winneba.