Rural bank board chairman explores investment opportunities abroad

While local banks scramble to reposition themselves amidst the ‘perceived crisis’ in the banking sector, as well as the imminent regulatory reforms in the rural banking sub-sector, the board chairman of Yaa Asantewaa Rural Bank, Mr. Samuel Addo Otoo, has been exploring opportunities in foreign markets to accelerate the growth of the bank.

Incorporated in 2010, Mr. Otoo said, Yaa Asantewaa Rural Bank is focusing more on helping rural communities to identify their needs and resources, and how they can match the two to achieve financial and economic independence.

This quest, he noted, has moved the management of the bank to look to other markets and tap into things that could be deployed locally, to make their pursuit achievable.

In line with this, the board chairman, who was speaking in an interview at the backdrop of the 2nd Turkey Africa Economic and Business Forum, at Istanbul, explained that their presence in Turkey, was thus to identify new technologies, ideas, and products that can fit into the local market.

Additionally, he said, they are looking at also establishing ‘new partnerships to support the development of the local economy.’

The Yaa Asantewaa Rural Bank, according to Mr. Otoo, has already met the new Bank of Ghana minimum capital threshold, set for rural banks.

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Ranked among the first five strong rural banks in the Ashanti Region, out of a total of 26 RCBs, and also listed among the first top 20 of the country’s 144 RCBs, he stated that the Bank now has a 2021 vision to be seen among the three top-performing rural banks in the country.

This will be in all indicators, he explained, in terms of deposit mobilization, capital, governance, and impact on the economy.

In 2015, the Bank was ranked 2nd and 19th best managed rural and community bank in Ashanti Region and Ghana respectively by the ARB Apex Bank, out of 26 and 141 RCBs in Ashanti Region and Ghana respectively.

The management of the Bank is determined to instill good business practices in all its facets of operations by embracing realistic ideas from all stakeholders, including shareholders, supervisory authorities, customers, among others through a number of innovative mediums.

It is believed that by this methodology, the desirable productivity will be achieved and sustained, while it continues to support development of local communities.

For example, the Bank has partnered with some traders to finance the construction of over 1,000 stalls and shops at the Atonsu Agogo Market, in Asokwa Municipality of the Ashanti Region. It is also working on some other projects in collaboration with the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).

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On the recent reforms seen in the banking sector, he conceded that “reforms are always necessary.” However, he said the “approach, timing and methodology” of the reforms ought to be ‘customerised’ in order that it does not adversely affect the banking sector.

Also touching on the call made by the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on African countries to trade with their local currencies, Mr. Otoo noted that doing this will reduce the cost of doing business.

“If we were to be doing direct business using our own currencies with our trading partners and we don’t necessarily have to rely on a particular currency in order to trade I don’t think there will be level of depreciation by the local currency.”

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