The Board Chairman for the Sonzele Rural Bank in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region, Mr. Albert Bosoro says the bank will continue to focus on options that will enhance shareholders value and maximize return on investment.
This he said would be achieved through strategically positioning and professionally weighing its risk exposures in order to reduce losses.
“We will not relent in our quest to improve our operating platform, map out effective and efficient service delivery channels to propel your bank to its market leadership ambition,” he added.
Mr. Bosoro gave the assurance during the 25th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank held here on Saturday.
He said the growth witnessed by the bank for the year under review was indication that the bank was on course to becoming one of the leading rural banks in the country.
Outlining the performance of the bank, he said it recorded a profit of GHS 545,583.00 in 2014, representing a 51 percentage increase over the 2013 figure of GHS 360, 424.00.
In terms of loans and advances the bank recorded significant increases from GHS1, 222,648.00 to GHS1,865,190.00 representing 53 per cent increase of last year.
Mr. Bosoro further indicated that ‘shareholder’ fund for same period increased from GHS 1,647,137.00 to GHS 2,224,183.00 representing 35 per cent increment.
Furthermore, its deposit assets and total also increased marginally from GHS 8,345,963.00 to 8,442,937.00 and GHS 11,297,107.00 to 11,768.588.00 representing two and four percentage increment respectively.
He noted that even though the bank did very well in terms of its loan recovery, there still remained a few of their debtors who still remained adamant to their loan obligations, adding that “Harsh measures are still enforced and instituted to recover outstanding loans.”
Mr. Bosoro said during the year under review the bank advanced loans to a total of 712 customers and the breakdown was 387 males and 325 females mostly into agriculture, education and commerce.
The board chairman explained that even though the bank may employ the persuasion method in recovering such debt, if it failed, then they may be compelled to resort to using legal means to recover their loans.
“Fellow shareholders, all customers who are indebted to the bank are requested to pay up their overdue loans in order to make funds available for lending. This will not only raise the income levels of the bank but will also minimise the provisions that will be made on bad and doubtful loans which have the resultant effect of reducing the profits of the bank,” he emphasised.
Outlining some difficulties encountered by the bank over the period under review, he said post computerisation and networking challenges remained a major difficulty for the bank’s operations, adding that “sometimes the system is slow resulting in delays in customer turnaround time in the bank.”
In addition, he said the cost of bandwidth from the data centre of the ARB Apex Bank Limited and the high cost of police guard duties were taking a toll on the bank’s finances.
However, he said the board and management in conjunction with the association of rural banks were in talks with the Apex Bank and the Inspector General of Police to see if something could be done about it.
On his part the managing director of Apex Bank Ltd, Mr. Kwadwo Aye Kusi commended the bank for their performance and achievements and urged them to strive hard to position itself as one of the leading rural banks in the country.
He appealed to the bank to make use of the advent of Information Communications Technology to improve on their operations.
From Cliff Ekuful, Jirapa