A board member of Kwamanman Rural Bank Limited at Kwaman in the Ashanti Region, Mr. Newman Dapaah, has assured the new Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank Limited, Mr. Kojo Mattah, of support for him and his colleague directors to pursue his agenda of transforming rural and community banks as well as the ARB Apex Bank.
According to him, his outfit and the entire rural banking fraternity is witnessing a new breeze of freshness in leadership. With the MD’s humble but determined disposition, in addition to his transparent and honest leadership, has emerged the much-needed hope that the Apex project lives on – and that in spite of the recent setback occasioned by unwarranted mistrust and cynicism about them, rural banks are not about to implode after all.
Mr. Dapaah has commended the MD’s approach to dealing with current and emerging challenges of the Apex Bank and the RCBs, which is already drawing waves of positive and warm compliments from diverse stakeholders – especially the RCBs.
It is therefore not surprising that those who took a decision to part ways with the ARB Apex Bank are beginning to retrace their steps back. Again, those who were contemplating doing the same are also beginning to give the idea of moving out of Apex a second thought. “We believe that with the current trend and your assured progressive leadership and winning strategy, it will not be long before we have all the ‘prodigal sons’ coming back into the fold for our collective good,” he stressed.
Mr. Dapaah pledged the Kwamanman board ‘s unflinching support in his determination to bring about the much-needed paradigm shift in the way business is run at Apex Bank, which will be a return to the original agenda that places well-being of the RCBs at the centre of business imperatives. “The unbridled pursuit of growing our Apex Bank into a universal bank, more or less rivalling the RCBs in business operation, did not do us much good in the past and must be decelerated, if it cannot be jettisoned altogether”, Mr Dapaah said.
The rural bank director said this and more when the new Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank, Mr. Kojo Mattah, paid a working visit to Kwamanman Rural Bank at its head office at Kwaman in the Ashanti Region as part of his working tour to some rural banks in the country
Mr. Dapaah wondered whether the timing of the new Apex Bank MD’s assumption of office was either fortuitous or preordained. According to him, one thing is however clear – and that is whether his arrival on the Apex Bank scene was either by chance or preordained, it has coincided with the most difficult period in the institution’s history.
He stressed the mistrust and antagonism between the ARB Apex Bank and its major shareholders, the RCBs, that the two bodies – which are supposed to be ‘blood relations’ – do not see eye to eye on anything at all. The relationship between the two bodies is now characterised by suspicion and a deep sense of revulsion – so much so that most meetings of the two usually degenerate into endless feuds and cantankerous exchanges.
Mr. Dapaah further stated that most of the RCBs are of the opinion, fairly or unfairly, that the ARB Apex Bank as it exists today does not represent the interest of RCBs. They claim that the organisation the RCBs fathered has abandoned the original cause for which it was set up, and is now pursuing an agenda which runs counter to their dreams and aspirations. “How do the RCBs justify their claim?” he asked rhetorically.
Mr. Dapaah specifically attributed one of the major issues to the business operating software popularly called the T24. The rural banks claim the costs associated with use of the T-24 software are too high and coupled with a few other implementation challenges, which is making their operations uncompetitive and virtually killing their business. As a result of those and other claims, some of the RCBs have taken a decision to part way with the T-24 and, to a large extent, the ARB Apex Bank itself.
The Kwamanman Rural Bank director emphasised that discussions or arguments so far have been how to make the T-24 project work. For most of the Managers, the one-sided argument stems from the fact that they are failing or refusing to think outside the box to renew their business strategies and accept the concept of perpetual business process re-engineering as the only way to remain competitive and relevant in the 21st century banking environment.
Mr. Dapaah further gave the advice that it is important for RCBs to wake up from their daydreaming and accept that technology now drives the industry, and it will continue to be the “open sesame” for the sustainable growth of rural banks.
Technology, however, does not come cheap, and it is for us to adopt strategies to grow our businesses exponentially through innovation and cost-efficient ways of doing business in order to take advantage of the immense benefits associated with cutting-edge technology.
The ARB Apex Bank’s new MD, Mr. Kojo Mattah, in his brief remarks to the lengthy address by Mr. Newman Dapaah took note of all the challenges enumerated above and assured the board and management of Kwamanma Rural Bank all that will be addressed, and they should give him the support he deserves.