The corporate environment of most organisations the world over, have their high positions held by males, especially in the financial – from the board room to senior management positions; and the rural banking subsector of the banking industry is no exception.
Since its establishment about forty-six years ago, the rural banking industry has seen consistent progress contributing very significantly to the growth of the economy especially in the areas of job creation, women empowerment, community development and promoting financial inclusion for low-income earners.
All these years women have had very little to contribute in the present-day evolution of rural banking in Ghana and it is about time key advocates and regulators worked assiduously to change the status quo to ‘break the bias’
It is an undeniable fact that men continue to dominate most of the higher and sensitive positions in the corporate environment while a few of their female counterparts are found in key managerial positions, as well as positions of deputies or line managers, while men continue to hold most key decision-taking positions.
Global experience shows that women’s involvement in managerial bodies clearly makes an organisation more successful with regards to business, and more resilient to crises and adaptive with respect to management.
It is indeed necessary to change traditional stereotypes about the place of women at all levels – from that of the individual to that of the state that is why it is advised that we inspire our women colleagues by advocating women involvement in key decision making.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, this article seeks to discuss various significant development impacts some women who hold top positions have made in the rural banking subsector of the banking industry.
Mrs Constance Phyllis Puttick – Board Chairperson, Atwima Mponua Rural Bank PLC
Mrs. Constance Phyllis Puttick is of the strong belief that adherence to effective corporate governance practices could enhance the standing of many players with its attendant impact on their financial performance. This begins with the appointment, election or selection of qualified persons with the relevant skillsets and relevant experiences as members of Boards.
The selection process could involve a two-stage pre-selection vetting of nominees by the Regulator in addition to the post-election approval currently undertaken in accordance with the Fit and Proper Person Directive. This would ensure that only qualified persons are presented for election by shareholders.
Refresher courses and continuous training on legal, regulatory, institutional governance and compliance at periodic intervals for such members would keep them abreast with trends in the industry and improve on their effectiveness.
Additionally, putting in place relevant policies, starting with a comprehensive and well-defined Board Charter to regulate activities of the Board and its Subcommittees, together with Operational Manuals for the guidance of Management, would ensure accountability and the needed checks and balances.
The independence, professionalism and experience of the Board Chair is also critical in providing the required strategic leadership.
Effective oversight of the Board’s activities by the ARB Apex Bank by way of independent evaluation of the Board’s activities is in tandem with the Corporate Governance Directives issued by the Regulator could serve as a useful accountability tool.
The deployment of modern digital platforms for effective financial intermediation has proven to be critical for operational efficiency. This could be scaled up with more investment in such tools by the ARB Apex Bank for deployment within the industry. Collaboration, and not competition, should be the way to go in reducing the cost of individual banks’ investments in technology.
In the long term, Mrs Puttick thinks the ARB should work towards seamless inter-bank payment systems and inter-operability to allow RCB customers to conduct business with any RCB member anywhere in the country on real-time basis. The GH-LINK platform could move beyond allowing for inter-bank withdrawals to enabling interbank deposits as well. Such a facility will shift much needed capital from physical infrastructural development in branch networks to shoring up operational capital to keep RCBs highly funded.
The ARB could also consider investing in Vault and Specie Movement services in the Regions and major cities to cut down the challenges member banks face in specie movement and its attendant risks.
The totality of the above, in my view, would contribute immensely to improving the governance and operational efficiencies of the RCB sector.
- 1. Corporate Governance
Mrs. Puttick has ensured that the affairs of the Bank are conducted in accordance with all legal and regulatory guidelines. Her tenure has ensured out of court settlements of a number of disputes, quality Boardroom debates, enhanced corporate governance and above all prudent management of the Bank’s resources.
- 2. Financial performance for six (6) months (June – December 2020)
The financial position of the Bank has seen significant shifts under her leadership. The following are worthy of note:
TOTAL ASSETS 80.73%
NET- WORTH 94.18%
- 3. Staff Welfare
Staff welfare has engaged her attention from day one. Keeping the workforce motivated with incentive packages, personal interactions and motherly care spurred the team on to perform remarkably in the face of COVID 19 and its economic impact on businesses.
- 4. Strategic Plan 2021 – 2025
The Bank’s corporate strategic plan 2017 -2021 became a centre of great concern by BSD inspection because various budgets were not preparing from the set five (5) year plan.
With her able leadership, the Bank now has a well prepared five (5) year strategic plan (2021 to 2025) which has shaped the Bank’s operational direction since 2021. The unprecedented turnaround in deposit-mobilisation and operational efficiency in the end of year performance indicators for 2021 derive from this plan.
Mrs. Constance Phyllis Puttick is an enthusiastic and determined woman with strong leadership and problem-solving skills. With a career spanning over 23 years, she has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and interest in Marketing, Banking, Development Administration, and Quality Assurance and Control.
Mrs. Puttick started her career in 1994, as the General Manager of Threshold Ghana, an organisation of Interior Decoration Experts. From 1996 to 1997, she was the Managing Director for Maps-Duo Limited, a reputable road construction firm in Ghana until 1998 when she established her own construction firm by name Sheka Rhema Constructions Enterprise.
Phyllis has extensive administrative and corporate governance experience across several public institutions, as well as within the private tertiary educational sector.
She has had the benefit of continuous professional development through participation in trainings and seminars organised by the Ghana Medical Association, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the National Accreditation Board of Ghana, and other reputable organisations across Africa.
Mrs. Puttick was a member of the Committee for Human Research, Ethics, and Publication of the KNUST Medical School/Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital between 2000 and 2010.
She is currently the Corporate Affairs, International Relations, and Business Development Manager of KAAF University College, a private tertiary institution in Ghana. She served as the Head of the University College’s Quality Assurance Department from 2011 to 2021; during which period she contributed extensively in building strong and efficient administrative structures to manage the affairs of the University College.
With a keen interest in Education and the development of human resources, she was the PTA Vice Chairperson of Mfantsiman Senior High School from 2013 to 2015. In 2019, she was appointed as the board chairperson of the Obrachere Senior High Technical School in the Central Region.
Mrs. Puttick joined the rural banking fraternity of the Ashanti Region in 2019 and became the first Female Board Chairperson of Atwima Mponua Rural, the first of such within the Association of Rural and Community Banks in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Her sterling performance was acknowledged when in 2020, she received the Women of Excellence Award, (Rural Banking Category), during the 6th Ghana Women of Excellence Awards.
A devout Christian and a Woman of faith, Mrs. Puttick was for several years the Central Aid Coordinator for the Northern Sector of the International Central Gospel Church, the corporate social responsibility wing of the church. She has also been a marriage counsellor for the past eighteen (18) years.
Mrs. Constance Phyllis Puttick holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, GIMPA, a Professional Diploma and Certificate in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK, and a certificate in Corporate Governance awarded by the Institute of Directors, Ghana. In 2019, she received the Best Marketing Post-Graduate Student Award at GIMPA. She is currently pursuing a PhD. in Strategic Management at the Lincoln University College, Malaysia.
Mrs Helen Adjei Yankey – CEO, NWABIAGYA RURAL BANK LIMITED
Mrs Helen Adjei Yankey was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Nwabiagya Rural Bank in July 2020. She has over 22 years experience in the Rural Banking industry. Prior to her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer, she was the Deputy General Manager in charge of Treasury and Operations. Helen joined the Bank in 1999 as a Branch Manager and has risen through the ranks occupying various managerial roles. She began her career as a National Service Person at the Ghana Revenue Authority (then Internal Revenue Service), Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital (Sekondi) and Lower Pra Rural Bank in Takoradi.
Helen’s focus is to efficiently utilise existing resources to support and achieve the Bank’s Customers and other Stakeholders.
Helen is a Chartered Banker from the Chartered Institute of Bankers- GH, holds a Post Chartered Diploma Certificate in Treasury and Financial Risk Management from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, an MBA (Banking and Finance) from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as well as a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and Diploma in Education from the University of Cape Coast.