Banks urged investigate background of employees

The ARB Apex Bank, has asked the Board of Directors of the Rural/Community Banks (RCBs) to investigate thoroughly the background of people they employ especially those at the managerial level to weed out all shady characters. Mr Theophilus Obeng, Head of the Micro Finance Unit of the Bank made this known when he addressed the 23rd Annual General Meeting of Nyankumasi Ahenkro Rural Bank, at Assin South District of the Central Region at the weekend. He noted that rural banking had become a very competitive venture, which attracts many risks and challenges. He urged the banks to build a strong financial base and improve upon their services to enable them withstand attempts by the traditional banks to poach their customers. Mr Obeng advised stakeholders of the RCBs to be security conscious to enable them to detect fraudulent activities. To this end, he advised directors of the banks to organise training courses to update the competence of their staff. Mr Obeng said though the Nyankumasi Rural Bank made a loss in the 2008 fiscal year, other indicators proved satisfactory and urged the board of directors to work harder to reverse the situation. "The bank has a brighter future, strive hard to make it," he stressed. He said the RCBs were migrating from manual operations to information and communication technology interventions and other new technologies which had made operations very costly. He therefore admonished the directors and management to ensure that the banks meet the capital requirement of GHC 150,000.00 set by the Bank of Ghana. Mr Robert Kutin, Chairman of the Board of Directors said in a report that four members of staff, including the manager had been dismissed and handed over to the police for further investigations into fraudulent practices involving GHc1,747.92. He said the bank posted a total income of GHc234, 034.50 in 2008 as against GHc251, 403.57 in 2007. Operational expenses also increased from GHc180, 734.74 in 2007 to GHc251, 292.98 in the year under review. The Board Chairman said total assets of the Bank increased from GHc1, 318,085.05 in 2007 to GHc1, 153,666.90 in 2008, representing 14 per cent increase. The Bank's deposits increased by 22 per cent from the previous level of GHc811,502.67 to GHc995,854.32, whilst investment in treasury bills amounted to GHc129,548.45 representing an increase of about 288 per cent over the previous level of GHc33,370.59. He said loan and advances amounted to GHc639, 945.83 in 2008 as against GHc615, 208.94 the previous year. Mr Kutin expressed regret that repayment of the loans was not encouraging all, forcing the bank to make provision of GHc6, 000.00 for the bad debt. He said only GHc40.40 worth of shares were bought for 2008 increasing the Bank's paid up capital from GHc53,172.15 in 2007 to GHc53,212.19 in 2008, which he described as very appalling. He said the bank purchased GHc235, 694.75 worth of cocoa in Akuafo Cheques as compared to GHc362, 505.20 in 2007. He however attributed the shortfall to the new distribution style of the Produce Buying Company. Mr Kweku Acquah, President of the Central Regional Chapter of the Association of RCBs pleaded with the directors and share holders of the banks to make serious efforts to increase their shares to remain in business. He urged customers to pay back loans for others to enjoy the service.