According to the ARB Apex Bank PLC, there are 147 rural and community banks with over 800 branch networks spread across the 16 regions of Ghana.
The total assets of the rural banking sector as of December 2021 amounted to GH¢6.72billion.
The sector also recorded total deposits of GH¢5.94billion.
Like any other industry, there are top players which dominate the rural banking sector as they make significant contributions to key balance sheet indicators, such as loans, deposits, short-term investments, total assets, paid up capital, and net worth.
This article will therefore focus on 4 top rural banks in 2021 in terms of asset size.
It has been noted that, the balance sheet size of banks matters. Profitability and liquidity of banks largely depend on the mix and quality of operating assets. Thus, making these assets a key performance indicator.
No wonder the selection of the 4 top RCBs will be based on their total assets for 2021.
Amenfiman Rural Bank in the Western Region, with its head office at Wassa Akropong, recorded a total asset of GH¢477.46million in 2021 financial year. This figure positioned the bank as number one and the largest rural bank in the rural banking space in Ghana.
It is worth mentioning that the bank’s huge asset base was largely funded by its aggressive deposit mobilisation drive. The bank’s total deposits for 2021 financial year amounted to GH¢401.79million – which was unparalleled in the industry. This also places the bank as a market leader in deposit mobilisation.
The remarkable growth in deposit can be attributed to a host of factors, such as superior deposit mobilisation strategy, strong commitment and motivated staff, strong customer confidence and loyalty, excellent customer service, and excellent leadership.
It is significant to note that Amenfiman Bank asset base was driven by significant growth in loans arising from aggressive lending drive. It recorded a loan portfolio of GH¢155.29million as of December 2021, which was a growth of 43.97 percent of the previous year loan portfolio of GH¢107.88million.
The bank, therefore, continues to maintain its lead in market share of advancing credit in 2021. This has no doubt impacted positively on borrowers who are mainly MSMEs in the informal sector. AMERB leadership is also evident in its capacity of generating income to create shareholder value. The operating income of the bank in 2021 amounted to GH¢78.29million, and this was unprecedented in the rural banking industry.
Critical examination of the bank’s financial report for 2021 financial year revealed a net worth of GH¢46.92million.
This also puts the bank in a unique position as a leader in terms of net worth in the rural banking sub-sector.
The bank has currently exceeded the regulatory paid-up capital of GH¢1million and recorded economic capital of GH¢5.7million. This is an indication that it is sufficiently capitalised for its business of banking.
The sheer size of the bank’s shareholders fund is a demonstration of a robust, resilient and strong financial institution that could be trusted.
Atwima Kwanwoma Rural Bank in Ashanti Region, with its head office at Pakyi Number 2, is the second largest rural bank in the rural banking sector in terms of asset base.
The bank recorded a total asset of GH¢300.15million in 2021 financial year. The growth of the bank’s assets is attributable to funds from significant growth in customer deposits and shareholders fund. It closed the year with a total deposit of GH¢245.71million.
Over the years AKRB has been doing extremely well in deposit mobilisation. It is number two in terms of deposit mobilisation in the rural banking industry. Its consistent deposit growth is propelled by strong customer confidence, good reputation, committed and motivated staff, strong marketing team, strategic location of branches, among others.
It is important to emphasise that AKRB’s growth in assets is driven by huge investments in government securities (Treasury Bills and Bonds) which amounted to GH¢204.08million in 2021.
The bank’s published financial statement for the year ended 31st December, 2021 revealed a net worth of GH¢42.27million.
This makes AKRB a Ghanaian rural bank with the second largest net worth. It shows how resilient and robust the bank is.
The bank also recorded a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 37.41 percent as of December 2021. This is far above the prudential benchmark of 10 percent. What is the implication? Clearly, it underscores the fact that Atwima Kwanwoma Rural Bank is highly solvent, and therefore, has capacity to absorb unforeseen shocks that might arise as a result of operational risk, credit risk, among others.
It should also be noted that AKRB is a well-governed and managed bank as demonstrated by consistent maximisation of impressive profit. The bank ended the 2021 financial year with profit before tax of GH¢7.07million.
Fiaseman Rural Bank in the Western region, headquartered in Bogoso, is one of Ghana’s largest rural banks.
Specifically, it is the top three (3) rural bank in 2021 by asset size. It closed the year 2021 with a total asset of GH¢240.71million. The growth in asset was largely funded by growth in deposit mobilisation.
The bank’s deposit amounted to GH¢208.24million as at December 2021. Deposit growth was triggered by effective customer relationship management, robust marketing communication, customer confidence, among others.
Critical examination of the bank’s asset mix revealed that the growth in asset size was propelled by loans and advances, as well as investments. The loan portfolio amounted to GH¢86.43million. This implies that it is deepening financial intermediation to drive the growth of the local economy.
The bank recorded a profit before tax of GH¢11.09million, and this positions it as the most profitable rural bank in 2021.
The impressive profit recorded was driven by growth in operating income and robust cost management which led to operational efficiency.
Fiaseman Rural Bank ranked as the third largest rural bank in 2021 in terms of net worth. This indicates that it is a resilient, robust and strong financial institution.
Odotobri Rural Bank in the Ashanti region, with its head office at Jacobu, ranks fourth in the list of top rural banks in terms of asset size.
The bank closed the 2021 financial year with a total asset of GH¢233.72million.
The earning assets were largely funded by growth in deposit mobilisation which amounted to GH¢ 203.40million. This also positions the bank as the fourth largest deposit mobiliser in the rural banking sector.
The bank’s high performance in deposit mobilisation can be attributed to aggressive deposit mobilisation drive, strategic location of branch network, strong top of brand awareness, strong customer confidence, strong liquidity, among others.
It is significant to point out that asset growth was driven largely by investment of GH¢138.68million which was the highest item in the bank’s asset mix.
Over the years, the Odotobri brand has been making impressive profit to create shareholder value. The brand also stands out when it comes to commitment to corporate social responsibility. This has no doubt made it an endearing brand in the bank catchment area.
Rural banks should strategise to grow in order to impact positively on socio-economic development in their catchment areas.