Rural Banks are better placed to support smallholder farmers – ARB Apex Bank MD

Kumawuman Rural Bank PLC
Rural Banks are better placed to support smallholder farmers – ARB Apex Bank MD

The Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank PLC, Mr. Alex Kwasi Awuah, has assured smallholder farmers of rural banks’ credit support in collaboration with other development partners for enhanced productivity.

According to him, rural banks are in a better position to support agriculture, particularly smallholder farmers, because of where they are located, and has the largest branch network across the country.

He has, therefore, asked rural banks to give financial support to the agriculture sector since Agric plays a significant role in the Ghanaian economy, contributing about 20% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy.

Mr. Awuah’s assertion follows a prevailing decline of funding from the banking industry, especially rural banks, to the agriculture sector, which has been the backbone of the Ghanaian economy in the years gone by.

According to him, the commitment from universal banks to agriculture to offer credit is about 4%, while that of the rural banks is about 6.4%; which means the entire financial service industry is not doing enough to support the agriculture sector. In view of this, Mr. Awuah is of the view that rural banks have not done enough to support agriculture.

Revealing how the formation of rural banking is linked to the lower-income earner and agriculture in Ghana, Mr. Awuah explained that the rural banks came into being when the Central Bank (BoG) wanted to promote rural financial intermediation within the communities.

He revealed that Agriculture is still controlling about 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) component, which means Agriculture controls quite a significant portion of the country’s economy, and there is the need to pay extra attention to its growth.

The Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank PLC made these assertions on the sidelines of the 40th Anniversary Celebrations launch of Kumawuman Rural Bank PLC recently at Kumawu.

Alex Awuah disclosed that the ARB Apex Bank is working with IFAD for some support to be granted to smallholder farmers, which is largely based on Green Climate Facility, adding that they are also in talks with some development partners to get access to funding that are cheap and can be given to many of the smallholder farmers.

This, he noted, will enable farmers to have credit to do their business effectively and be able to purchase seeds, and planting equipment, among others.

Asked about progress made in getting financial support for farmers, he expressed appreciation to the Government of Ghana and the World Bank for their support – an intervention that has been part of the government’s financial inclusion strategy which the ARB Apex Bank and the rural banks are benefitting as support of about US$8million.

Alex Kwasi Awuah, Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank PLC

Kumawuman Rural Bank launches 40th-anniversary celebrations

Kumawuman Rural Bank PLC in the Sekyere Kumawu District of the Ashanti Region has unveiled plans of activities to celebrate the bank’s 40 years of existence in the rural banking industry.

The board, management and staff of the bank, through an anniversary planning committee, have lined up activities to mark this significant milestone of chalking four decades of success in the rural banking space, making a significant impact in the lives of small and middle-income earners.

In an opening address, the chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Alex Adomako-Mensah, appreciated the contributions of all major stakeholders, particularly the very key people who came out with the idea to establish the bank forty years ago.

He further mentioned some major institutional stakeholders like the Bank of Ghana and the ARB Apex Bank PLC, as well as the Association of Rural Banks for their technical and supervisory support in achieving this resounding success.

According to him, since the bank’s establishment forty years ago, it has pursued a massive share and deposit mobilisation, followed stringent cost reduction policies, strengthened internal control measures and developed the human capital to meet the demands of functioning profitability in the competitive rural banking environment.

The bank has also sought to maintain mechanisms that will continue to deliver excellent socio-economic returns to stakeholders as well as ensure sustainable growth and development of the bank.

Kumawuman Rural Bank’s growth objective has always been to improve on the bank’s performance and make it more attractive, become more transparent and make the governance practices more efficient and sustainable with the view to continuously increasing the investment of the shareholders.

The bank has been consistent over the years, with its business model still tailored for the micro, small and medium enterprises, and still pushing for more market penetration as they develop new and better products and trusted relationships with clients of the bank.

The Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank PLC, Alex Kwasi Awuah, commended the bank, the founding fathers, as well as the current board and management of the bank for working hard to put the bank in the rank of quality, as being one of best performing rural banks in the area of growth, efficiency and compliance.

He particularly mentioned Dr. Kwabena Duffour, former governor of the Central Bank, one of the founding fathers of the bank, for his commitment and generosity as well as his technical advice and contribution for the establishment and growth of the bank.

He has assured the public and other relevant stakeholders that rural banks would do everything possible with the support of development partners to offer the mandated services, particularly to the smallholder farmers, for the development of agriculture.

Mr. Awuah, congratulated the bank for its forty years anniversary launch and wished them a successful celebration. He assured the board of his outfit’s support as the bank chalks four decades of effective and impactful rural banking.

The Executive Director of Association of Rural Banks (ARB) Ghana, Mrs. Comfort Owusu, in her address, congratulated the Kumawuman Rural Bank for attaining forty years in making remarkable impact in the rural banking space, and wished the bank a robust growth in the coming years.

According to her, the ARB admonishes Kumawuman Rural Bank not to be complacent in its accomplishment, but strive to maintain the cultural ethical values and adopt measures to be abreast with emerging developments in banking business.

Mrs. Owusu further advised the board to embrace good corporate governance practices within the realms of existing potent corporate strategic plan. She mentioned succession planning, separation of powers and eschewing conflict of interest.

Dr. Alex Adomako-Mensah, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Historical Perspective

The establishment of Kumawuman Rural Bank was borne out of Kumawu Biako Ye Kuo in Accra, who saw the need for a bank to be established in their area and came together to mobilise funds for its establishment.

The founding fathers of the bank came out with both vision and mission statements of the bank, and the bank was officially opened 29th October, 1982.

The vision of the bank was to become the first choice bank, where ‘best people want to work, customers wish to do business and shareholders are happy with their investment’.

The MISSION was: “To provide reliable, cost effective and efficient banking services to the general public, and make good returns for shareholders through meeting their customers’ expectations, motivating and developing every employee.

The first Board Members of Kumawuman Rural Bank were: Dr. Kwabena Duffuor – First Board Chairman, Mr. Opoku Adusei- Vice Chairman, Mr. Edward Opoku-Mensah – Secretary, Mr. Joseph Kwabena Darkwa – Member, Nana Addai Boamah – Member, Nana Agyei Owusu – Member, Mr. Atta Acheampong – Member, Mr. Cephas Kwadwo Abledu – First General Manager.

Mr. Opoku Adusei donated his private car to be used to enhance the work of the bank, and the late Nana Amoakohene also sacrificed his storey building for the work of the bank.

Prominent personalities like the late B.A Mensah and others also contributed significantly for the mobilisation of the initial share capital of GH¢64.00(604,000 old Ghana cedis).

Mrs. Comfort Owusu and Mr. Alex Awuah, extreme right and second from right, respectively and Berima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, Omanhene of Kumawu Traditional Area and other chiefs popping sparkling wine to officially launch the 40th Anniversary

The current Board Members of Kumawuman Rural Bank are: Dr. Alex Adomako-Mensah (MP for Sekyere Afram plains) – Board Chairman, Mr. Isaac Asiamah, Dr. Kodua Addai-Mensah, Mr. Charles Kwadwo Nimoh and Rev. Prince Baffour Ofori.

The Bank’s total deposit as at 31st March, 2022 was GH¢154million. The Bank has 298 staff strength, with thirteen branches within Ashanti Region. These include, Kumawu, Bodomase Drobonso, Amakom, Alabar, Bomso and Effiduase. The rest are Ahensan, Asafo, Banko, Kejetia, Adako and Tafo.

Currently, Kumawuman Rural Bank – by size, deposit, among others – occupies the 5th position in Ashanti Region and among the first ten in Ghana out of the 145 rural and community banks.

Going into the future, the bank seeks to be among the top three in Ashanti Region and among the first six in Ghana in terms of size and deposit.

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