Apex Bank Spurs Growth Of Rcbs

Apex Bank PixAbout GH¢9.7 million has been invested to improve Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in rural and community banks (RCBs) in the country over the past one-and-half years.

The move was aimed at upgrading the data systems of all RCBs to position them well to operate competitively and spur their growth.

It was disclosed in a speech read on behalf of Mr. Kwadwo Aye Kusi, the Managing Director of the ARP Apex Bank Limited, at the 25th annual general meeting of Nsoatreman Rural Bank at Nsoatre in the Sunyani West District.

The ARB Apex Bank is a mini central bank in Ghana for the RCBs financed mainly through the Rural Financial Services Project (RFSP), which is a Government of Ghana project to holistically address the operational bottlenecks of the rural financial sector with the aim of broadening and deepening financial intermediation in the rural areas.

According to Mr. Kusi, 137 RCBs with about 665 sites live on the 124 e-Merge banking software.

“We continue to invest in the ICT infrastructure in line with our policy to bear all capital expenditure and recover only the recurrent cost from the RCBs,” he said.

The Managing Director said the migration of the Apexlink onto the i-Trans II platform had introduced efficiency into its operations as reimbursements were made on same day basis.

“The third version i-Trans, which is expected to be released soon, would see the extension at the products platform to other financial institutions across the country,” he said.

Mr. Kusi said the Apex Bank had also signed an agreement with a service provider for the deployment of the ARC mobile products, a computerised platform, which essentially uses mobile phones to transact banking services.

Some of these banking services include payments, transfers, checking of balances, short messages systems, alerts and other related transactions as well as support “susu” operations.

This, Mr Kusi said, would not only diversify the RCBs income stream but also increase their profits in order to ultimately maximise shareholders’ value.

He said the banking business had become very competitive and risky and advised RCBs to institute a process that would continuously identify measure, monitor and control all forms of risks.

Mr. Kusi said the internal audit units of rural banks ought to be strengthened and empowered to assist in the risk management process to guard against fraudsters.

Mr. Kofi Agyeman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nsoatreman Rural Bank, said the bank’s deposit increased by 27 per cent jumping from GH¢6,321,720.48 in 2012 to GH¢8,036,999.66 in 2013.

Investment also rose from GH¢1,988,000.00 to GH¢3,312,441.20, an increase of 67 per cent in the same period.

The bank’s total assets increased from GH¢7,830,407.76 to GH¢9,942,710.42, a 27 per cent increase, while its share of capital rose from GH¢267,112.80 to GH¢293,348.43, an increase of 10 per cent.

The bank’s pre-tax profit also rose from GH¢206,718.50 to GH¢224,094.28, while its advances jumped from GH¢2,724,724.07 to GH¢3,299,320,20, an increase of 21 per cent.

Mr. Agyeman said the bank’s scholarship scheme was on course with an amount of GH¢7,299.30 being spent on beneficiaries.

GNA.

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