Atwima Mponua Rural Bank PLC at Toase in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality of Ashanti Region has held its 39th Annual General Meeting of shareholders, with a call on shareholders to increase their investments.
Despite the tight monetary and fiscal macro-economic environment in the country, the bank managed modest growth in almost all performance indicators.
The bank’s net income increased by 13.11 percent, from more than GH₵14million in the previous year to over GH₵16million for the 2022 year under review.
The bank generated over GH₵9million from operating activities in the 2022 year under review, as against a little over GH₵6million for the previous year.
Addressing shareholders at the 39th Annual General Meeting last Friday, the bank’s Board Chairperson, Mrs. Constance Phyllis Puttick, acknowledged that even though the year 2022 was difficult for the financial sector – especially banks – the board of directors surmounted several challenges, such as impairment of interest on investments among others.
The board further committed to complying with the Bank of Ghana’s On-site Examination Directives on de-recognising interest on investments which remained locked up with investment houses hard hit by the financial sector clean-up.
Mrs. Puttick stressed that a significant chunk of the bank’s investments remain locked-up with state-managed investment houses, with very little sign of immediate recovery. For this and other reasons, the regulator did not approve the well-intentioned proposal for payment of dividends.
Mrs. Puttick however expressed confidence that with the difficult steps taken, including revamping its credit department, the bank is set on the path to recovery and resilience.
“I can confidently say we are on a path to recovery. We will bounce back even stronger with the collective support of all stakeholders. A product review exercise is underway to make our products more attractive. Our credit department has been revamped, with more experienced staff to rapidly pursue loan portfolio growth and enhance interest income; and new product lines are being introduced to service our clients better,” she stressed.
Regulatory compliance & Corporate governance
The bank did well in meeting the prudential primary reserve ratio throughout the reporting period, in spite of all the macro-economic challenges.
The Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank, Alex Kwasi Awuah, on his part encouraged shareholders to increase their shares to spur the bank into growth. He further admitted that government’s Domestic Debt Exchange programme (DDEP) has had some negative impact on rural and community banks, but said his office remains committed to ensuring rural banks remain resilient in serving their cherished customers and giving shareholders value for their investments.
Mr. Awuah reiterated that the DDEP is one of the policies which have affected the country’s banking sector – not just commercial banks but the rural banks as well. He further pleaded with customers of rural banks to pay their outstanding loans to keep the banking business active.
He also mentioned that his outfit is working with the Association of Rural Banks to retrieve all funds locked with government, and encouraged shareholders to also buy more shares to make the bank resilient.
Executive Director-Association of Rural Banks, Comfort Owusu, congratulated the Atwima Mponua Rural Bank board of directors for their hard work, and encouraged them not to neglect their corporate social responsibility to the communicates in which they operate.
Furthermore, she advised RCBs to follow due process when there are issues to be addressed, and avoid going directly to the Bank of Ghana Governor to seek for redress.
Mrs. Owusu indicated that training sessions are ongoing for Directors, Chief Executive Officers, management and staff of RCBs to ensure proper growth of their activities at the banks.
Moreso, as part of efforts to increase female participation at the highest levels in RCBs’ organogram, the Association of Rural Banks will be organising a women’s conference for female staff. They will be encouraged and trained to take up high-rank positions in the various rural and community banks where they work.