Reposition mobile bankers as catalysts for deposit growth – rural banks urged

Some of the mobile bankers of Nyarkrom Rural Bank who participated in the training programme

The Executive Director of Proven Trusted Solutions Limited, Joseph Akossey, has entreated Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) to endeavour to reinforce the work of mobile bankers, in their scheme of operations, given the critical role they play in deposit mobilization.

In the current era of rural banking, he said mobile bankers are spearheading deposit growth and driving financial inclusion in the informal sector. He added that the informal sector remains the largest customer base of RCBs.

Following that ‘Susu deposits’ constitute a higher share of the deposit mix of some RCBs, through the work of mobile bankers, he posited there is a need to ensure that they are always up to the task.

He, therefore, underscored the need to train mobile bankers, noting that they are not direct banking professionals. To this end, he said “There should be regular capacity training to improve their professionalism.”

Furthermore, Mr. Akossey advised RCBs need to review the entry requirements for employing mobile bankers. “Going forward, rural banks need to consider recruiting diploma and first-degree holders and pay them well to bring professionalism to the work they do,” he stated.

This is against the observation that most mobile bankers are secondary school leavers and, therefore, lack professionalism.

Additionally, “They need to also motivate them well, provide them with the better condition of services so that they can work hard to achieve their core mandate, and not be taken for granted,” he said.

The head of Proven Trusted Solutions, who was speaking in an interview on the back of a 2-day capacity building workshop for mobile bankers and other staff of the Nyarkrom Rural Bank, in the Central region, said mobile bankers should be seen as part of the mainstream banking staff.

This is because they take banking to the doorsteps of those who do not have time to access banking and financial services, he said.

However, he recommended RCBs to also strengthen the monitoring of mobile bankers. This is given that they handle cash from Susu depositors. If internal controls are not improved and monitored effectively they can suppress funds, which is one of the challenges in dealing with mobile bankers, he noted.

The 2-day training was to help the bank identify how they can grow deposits so that they can get much to invest, and lend to customers among others to deepen profitability.

It was organised in two parts for mobile bankers; branch managers, marketing officers as well as monitors. While the mobile bankers focused on deposit mobilisation and Susu sales strategies, the manager’s training concentrated on managing and monitoring for peak performance.

The Chief Executive of Nyarkrom Rural Bank, Mr. Kaedabi Donkor, said the Bank prioritizes customer relations. And given that mobile bankers are the field tellers through whose activities customer relations could be deepened; drive deposit growth and sell the products of the Bank, he observed the need to train them.

“Currently Susu forms a major component of our deposit mix – 30 percent whereas Savings constitute 36 percent. This means when we train them, customers could benefit from them and they will do a good job,” he said.

The outlook of Nyarkrom Rural Bank, as compared to the previous year’s performance is much better, and gives an indication of realising the set target, at the end of the financial year, according to Mr. Donkor.

For instance, he said the Bank at the moment has exceeded its target for July ending by 20 percent, making it promising to reach 30 percent in deposit mobilisation, by the end of December 2023.

Other indicators like loan advances, he said, is quite encouraging. In the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), he disclosed that the Bank has offered scholarships to some 10 beneficiaries at the tertiary level of education.

He said the Bank is profitable and aims to maintain the status as a pioneering bank. He, therefore, assured that those in the catchment areas that the Bank is capable of meeting their financial needs, across all the sectors of the local economy.

While noting the support from the Association of Rural Banks and ARB Apex Bank, he also attributed the growth of the Bank to the contribution of the Board of Directors of the Bank, led by Nana Ambrose Linson Arthur.

Nyarkrom Rural Bank currently operates a total of 10 branches, which are well-networked and offer a mix of other innovative products and services including SMS banking, Mobile Banking apps among others.

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