In a period that has seen a lot of financial institutions willing to undercut business simply to remain relevant and derive short-term gains, the Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank, Mr. Kojo Mattah, has urged rural and community banks that they should endeavour to remain exceptional.
He said customers in these modern times are spoilt for choice because they have a multiplicity of service offerings to choose from.
So, to remain relevant, he observed that some competing financial institutions are prepared to make ‘ostentatious’ promises that they are hardly able to keep.
These ‘uncustomary’ banking practices that have crept into the local banking environment have been the cause of collapse for many financial institutions in the country.
It is on the back of this development that Mr. Mattah entreated RCBs to be different while striving to provide unbeatable services in order to exceed customer expectations.
Speaking at the 17th Annual National Managers Conference at Ho in the Volta Region, he noted that it is more expensive to raise new customers than to maintain existing ones.
Among other things, he said, the only way the ARB Apex Bank and RCBS can ensure sustainability of their operations is for them to continuously rediscover themselves and the business processes.
In line with this, he explained that the ARB Apex Bank has begun a restructuring exercise to reposition the Bank in order to be able serve RCBs.
The Conference, which was held under the theme ‘Rendering Service with Passion: A Panacea for Competitive Advantage’, sought also to discuss some critical issues affecting survival of the rural banking subsector.
Some of the issues that were listed to be covered included: internal controls; electronic banking; cybersecurity; and e-learning, among others. The participating managers were also expected to be taken through some training modules to help improve on service delivery.
Mr. Mattah said: “In today’s fast-changing world, it is important we continue to update and upgrade our knowledge in whatever field we find ourselves and be on top of the job”.
The President of the Volta Regional Chapter of the Association of Rural Banks, also speaking at the conference, said the non-performing rural banks are due to a number of factors.
He mentioned non-adherence to internal controls and lack of supervision for Susu and Microfinance products as part of these factors.
Others include the failure of managers to stand up against board members who compel them to give out loans which most often go bad.
He revealed that the recent closure of banks across the country has created a lot of panic and anxiety in the rural areas where RCBs are operating.
To ensure that rural banks are not affected, he said General Managers and Board of Directors should ensure that investment decisions are not solely influenced by interest rates.
Also, he said ARB and Bank of Ghana should implement the new Corporate Governance Guidelines and Directives with caution, while urging Boards of Directors and shareholders to ensure full implementation of provisions in the new Banking Law.