ARB Apex Bank Limited has secured a US$8 million grant from the World Bank to roll out Agency banking project.
The Managing Director of ARP Apex Bank Limited, Mr Kojo Mattah, who announced this here in a speech read for him at the 34th annual general meeting of Dangme Rural Bank (DRB) on Saturday said the bank had engaged the service of a consultant to guide the seamless execution of the project expected to position member banks to take a substantial stake in the country’s electronic and cash-lite society evolution.
Mr Mattah stated that the Agency Banking module would rope in more than 1,000 agents or agency banks across the country.
He said the project would bring a host of benefits including the creation of additional jobs in the rural areas because small and medium sized businesses and shops would sign up to become bank agents for Rural and Community Banks (RCBs).
Mr Mattah said Agency Banking was part of projects being rolled out to improve business processes and help to diversify the income streams of RCBs
He said the bank’s information and communication technology infrastructure was being upgraded to give member banks unlimited access to all the components of modern banking application including full scale internet and mobile banking with the possibility for account holders to move funds from their RCB accounts to their mobile money wallets and vice versa.
“To deal with the challenge of cyber fraud and improve our bank’s security posture we have deployed a security incident and event management system to monitor all activities on the network with a security operations centre to be connected to the national security operations centre at the Bank of Ghana,” he said.
Mr Mattah assured that the ARB Apex Bank would work with the Bank of Ghana to ensure that all identified bottlenecks in some of their member banks were addressed accordingly to protect depositors’ funds.
Chairman of DRB, Nene Affum Kaafra III, said the bank had met the requirement of a minimum capital of GH¢1 million by the regulator and initiated efforts to raise funds to improve it against any future increase.
He however noted that the bank could not pay dividend due to the dip in its operations in 2018 and the need to clean its books in compliance with the regulator’s requirements and international financial reporting standards.
“The situation was a composition of loss on impairment that amounted to GH¢1,193,457.00 and bad debts written off that also amounted to GH¢ 942,721.00. The two made up a total of GH¢2,136,178.00,” he said.
Nene Affum, however noted that the beneficiaries of the loan facilities under Millennium Development Agency and Community Based Rural Development Projects had been scheduled to face court action.
He said in spite of that, short term investment increased from GH¢10,252,072.00 in 2017 to GH¢12,061,194.00 in 2018 meaning “the bank remained liquid and solvent during this turbulent period.”
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, NINGO