The ARB Apex Bank has said customers of rural and community banks (RCBs) across the country will soon experience a massive improvement in the rural banking environment, particularly with the successful roll-out of ATM card services aimed at deepening convenient banking to the satisfaction of customers.
The ATM cards for rural banks can also be used on other banks’ ATMs through the GH-link platform and will be the first service in Ghana that employs Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) standards with CHIP and PIN for transactions.
To this end, thirty-six ATMs have been installed across the country, and through the KfW loan facility ARB Apex Bank is hoping to further install over 40 more for other RCBs throughout the country before end of the year.
In an address delivered on behalf of Managing Director Kojo Mattah, by Head Finance & Administration Department of the ARB Apex Bank, Kwaku Ababio, the next phase is upgrading the platform to acquire international cards and also introduce agency banking.
“We would like to assure existing and potential customers of a new banking experience across the rural banking system as we roll out even more attractive and convenient products.”
Mr. Ababio, who was speaking at the 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Fiaseman Rural Bank Limited, noted with concern that there have been some impositions of penalties and fines on RCBs by the central bank.
These penalties, he said, have largely been imposed for violating sections 29, 36, and 75 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit Taking Institutions Act 2016 (Act 930) with regard to capital adequacy, liquidity requirements, asset classification, provisioning, and write-offs.
Other areas that attracted penalties were violations in respect of ratification for loans to directors and submission of inaccurate returns.
In view of this development, he has urged management and directors of RCBs to improve their oversight responsibilities to avoid these debits which reduce their profitability.
Mr. Ababio also announced that corporate governance frameworks and processes have been developed to ensure that management and directors act in ways which will serve the best interests of their companies.
This follows a series of recent corporate collapses that has led to a renewed focus on the need to strengthen corporate governance – particularly regarding risk management, transparency, accountability and ethical behaviour.
“The banking industry is increasingly being driven by the need to create value that is sustainable against a backdrop of rapid changes in technology. It is in this light that directors must have a detailed and practical understanding of the crucial aspect of governance in areas of regulatory framework, ethical leadership, audit committees, internal controls, governance of risk, responsible investment, compliance and much more to meet the threats and challenges of modern day banking,” he stated.