The ARB Apex Bank Limited has received approval to roll out the US$8million World Bank-sponsored Agency Banking project.
The project is currently awaiting its pilot implementation, following the appointment of a project consultant to ARB Apex Bank by the World Bank, the Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank Limited, Kojo Mattah, has announced.
The first phase of the project is expected to sign up one thousand agency bankers across the country. With secure point of sale devices, customers can access various banking services without necessarily walking into a banking hall, and this is expected to deepen rural financial inclusion and intermediation in the country.
Mr. Mattah announced these and more at the 17th Annual General Meeting of ARB Apex Bank held in Ho recently. The meeting brought together the board chairmen of all 144 rural banks in Ghana, who are the main shareholders of ARB Apex Bank.
Highlighting some of the landmark projects the Bank is undertaking, Mr. Mattah mentioned the T-24 core banking suite, which is currently being upgraded from the current licencing regime to an unlimited licence era to give member rural banks unlimited access to all the components of the modern banking application.
Thus, when completed, the U-Connect Mobile Banking application will also be upgraded to allow patrons more flexibility and choice. It will allow customers to transfer and receive funds, check balances, print/view statements and balances; and be able to link their bank accounts to their mobile money wallets, allowing them to perform push and pull transactions.
“Apex Bank is also working to put in place the necessary infrastructure to comply with the Bank of Ghana’s directive on cyber security, as well as upgrading all the core ICT platforms with state-of-the-art fire walls to ward-off cyber criminals,” he added.
As the bank envisions becoming the most effective and efficient service provider to the rural and community banks as the new direction, management of Apex Bank will endeavour to improve its service delivery and commitments to the rural banks so that member rural banks can render enhanced services to their customers who will be proud to bank with them.
In that regard, Apex Bank continues to deploy Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at rural banks across the country. The Bank has so far deployed more than 70 ATMs, with the number expected to grow to more than a hundred before the end of 2019. Directors of all rural banks have therefore been urged to take advantage of this value-added service and apply for ATMs.
The Chairman of the Bank’s Board of Directors, James Kwame Otieku, in his address outlined the bank’s financial performance for the year under review.
According to him the Bank recorded some satisfactory gains in most financial indicators. Its balance sheet grew by 20.9 percent, from GH¢326.4million in 2017 to GH¢394.5million in 2018. Total deposits rose from GH¢277.9million to GH¢341.2million in 2018, representing a growth of 22.8 percent. Loans and advances grew by 26.4 percent to GH¢37.8million at the end of 2018, from GH¢29.9million in 2017.
However, the Bank recorded a drop in profit before tax of GH¢914,200 in the year under review compared to the GH¢2million recorded in 2017. Total operating income rose from GH¢48.9million to GH¢55.5million, representing a growth of 13.5 percent.
Mr. Otieku assured shareholders that there are plans to implement various projects that will improve upon the Bank’s service delivery as well as its income streams, and expressed optimism that the Bank will improve its profit performance and shareholder value in the years ahead.
Mr. Mattah in his concluding remarks expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Board for their visionary leadership and direction, as well as to the valued shareholders and esteemed customers for their unflinching support – not forgetting Management and Staff of the ARB Apex Bank for their cooperation during the year under review. He finally urged the Bank’s various stakeholders to continue supporting the vision in coming years.
Mr. Mattah (left) together with Curtis William Brantuo, Head, Legal & Compliance (middle) and Benjamin Chemel, Head, Finance & Administration (right)