How good leadership is transforming the fortunes of rural banks

File Photo: The Board Chairman, Patrick Amanor Buckor being assisted by Alex Kwasi Awuah, Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank PLC and Mrs Comfort Owusu, Executive Director of Association to cut the tape to inaugurate the New Madina Office Complex


Good leadership is one of the key success factors of organizations and by extension banks. The success and failure of every organization depends on an effective and efficient leadership.

Around the globe, some banks have folded up and out of business because of bad leadership while others have survived even in an unfriendly macroeconomic environment for decades and continue to grow and thrive because of good leadership.

No wonder John C. Maxwell said that “everything rises and falls on leadership. It has also been observed that the speed of the leader is the speed of his followers. This implies that a good leader can inspire his people to exhibit strong commitment to achieve the overall mission and vision.

Currently, there are 147 rural banks spread across the 16 regions of Ghana. Undoubtedly, the fortunes of some of them have been transformed in a remarkable way. This has therefore propelled them to remain resilient.

This article seeks to highlight five CEOs of selected rural and community banks whose good leadership have led to positive transformation of their respective banks.

The first to assess is Mr. Kaedabi Donkor is the current CEO of Nyakrom Rural Bank in the Central Region who assumed office at the CEO in January 2021.

Indeed, it would not be an overstatement to say that Mr. Kaedabi Donkor has made impressive and significant turnaround in the bank’s financial fortunes and in other areas.

Here is a highlight of some of his transformation achievements during his three years’ leadership.

First and foremost, customer deposit recorded remarkable growth from GH₵ 34.53 million in 2020 to GH₵ 91.33 million at the close of December 2023 financial year, representing growth of 164% while total assets experienced exponential increase from GH₵ 35.75 million in 2020 to GH₵ 100.19 million as of December 2023, representing growth of 180%. This makes the bank the largest rural bank in the Central Region.

The bank’s profitability also experienced tremendous improvement from a loss of  GH₵ -564,829 in December 2020 to GH₵ 2.14 million at the end of December 2023. This depicts growth rate of 480% in three years.

Besides the impressive financial indicators, Mr. Kaedabi gave all the ten branches impressive facelift leading to enhanced quality of physical evidence and this has boosted customer confidence.

He further restructured and strengthened the bank’s susu scheme making it one of the robust in the industry. This has attracted other sister rural banks to come to study the susu model.

Regarding his vision for the bank, Mr. Kaedabi  is poised to make Nyakrom Rural Bank brand very attractive in the Central Region and to the large extent the nation as a whole. He finally acknowledged the support of the Board led by Nana Ambrose Linson Arthur.

Subin – Akwaboso Rural Bank headquartered in Subin – Hill in the Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region is also worth mentioning in this article. Mr. Francis Azure, a dynamic banker who is the CEO was appointed in August 2022 when the bank started operations as the newest rural bank adding up the number of rural banks to 147 in Ghana.

It is heartwarming to say that under his leadership, Sarbank even though has been in operation for one year five months has made significant strides unprecedented in the history of rural banking in Ghana.

First, he recorded a total deposit of GH₵ 21.17 million and total assets of GH₵ 23.97 million in just a year of operation.

This is fantastic performance because some of its peers notwithstanding the fact that have been in operation for over thirty years do not have this quantum of deposit.

In terms of profit, the bank posted profit before tax of GH₵ 1.12 million as at December 2023. In fact, it is unusual for a rural bank to make such an impressive profit for the first year of operation.

Another transformation achievement was the fact that, the bank was rated strong and ranked 6th out of a total of 147 rural banks in Ghana by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit of the ARB Apex Bank Plc (4th Quarter of 2023).

It is also worthy of mention that, Mr. Azure attributed his success to the unflinching support pledged by the board led by the chairman, Mr. Edward Anti Nyinaku.

Regarding his vision for the bank, he emphasized “bringing banking closer to the people by ensuring customer satisfaction through modern technology and dedicated staff”.

The next rural bank that deserves our attention is Kwaebibirem Rural Bank at Asuom in the Eastern Region.

The bank CEO is Prince Obiri Yeboah who succeeded his predecessor, Mr. Michael Agyeibi Agyekum in September 2021.

It’s no exaggeration to say that since Mr. Obiri Yeboah took on the mantle as CEO, the bank has experienced fantastic transformation in its financial and non-financial fortunes. This is evident by the considerable and amazing improvements in key financial indicators in the past two years.

This could be attributed to his exceptional leadership skills such as emotional intelligence and integrity as well as strong backing of the board led by Hon. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkora.

Here is a summary of his outstanding transformation of KBRB.

To begin with, the bank recorded tremendous growth in total assets of 104.79% from GH₵37.78 million in September 2021 when he assumed office as the CEO to GH₵77.37 million as of December 2023.

Total deposits also increased by 85.38% from GH₵33.4 million to GH₵61.95 million while profit before tax soared from GH₵1.36 million to GH₵4.32 million representing a significant growth of 216.99% in the same period. This is the highest in the history of the bank. It is significant to note that under Prince’s leadership, the bank’s shareholders’ fund (shareholder equity) has witnessed significant improvement from GH₵1.5 million to GH₵8.7 million representing growth of 455.06% and this achievement could be attributed to plough back of profitability.

Besides the impressive financial indicators, the bank was rated strong and ranked number 36 out of 147 RCBs in the fourth quarter of 2023 by the ARB Apex Bank Plc.

Furthermore, there is positive transformation of staff mindsets and attitude leading to strong commitment and excellent customer experience.

Commenting on his vision for the bank, Mr. Obiri Yeboah said “to transform KBRB to become the biggest and the leading rural bank in the Eastern Region within the shortest possible time”.

The fourth rural bank to discuss in this article is Okomfo Anokye Rural Bank in Ashanti Region headquartered in Wiamoase.

The bank’s CEO is Paul Kwabena Oduro assumed office on 1st December,2019. Mr. Oduro is a dynamic leader with outstanding qualities and skills such as being ambitious, hardworking, emotionally intelligent with growth mindset among others.

In fact, his good leadership coupled with all-inclusiveness has positively transformed the fortunes of the bank making it one of the resilient and robust rural banks in Ghana.

Here is a recapitulation of his outstanding transformation of the bank.

First the bank recorded accelerated growth in total assets from GH₵58.28 million in 2019 to GH₵185.87 million as of December 2023 representing a change of total assets value of GH₵127 million.

Customer deposit also increased from GH₵52.96 million to GH161.45 million in 2023. This constitutes total deposit variance of approximately GH₵109 million.

Further to mention, profit grew from a loss of (GH₵581,396) to GH₵8.82 million at the same period. The profit recorded is the highest in the history of the bank.

This impressive profitability could be attributed to effective cost management, prudent investment, quality loan portfolio and innovation. Besides the impressive financial performance, the bank was rated strong and ranked 6th out of the 147 rural banks in Ghana in the second quarter of 2023 by the ARB Apex bank PLC

Commenting on what he intends to achieve in his tenure of administration, he emphasized making the bank stronger and more resilient as well as having presence all over the country.

The last rural bank we want to consider in this article is Odotobri Rural Bank PLC which has its head office   at Jacobu in the Ashanti Region.

The bank CEO is Abraham Coffie succeeded his predecessor, Siaka Baba Ahmed on 1st October 2021.

Mr. Abraham Coffie is a dynamic and visionary leader poised to add greater value to the bank.

Undoubtedly, under his leadership, the Odotobri Rural Bank has experienced extraordinary transformation in terms of financial fortunes.

First, the bank’s total assets have been enhanced from GH₵233.09 million in December 2021 to astronomical figure of GH₵377.19 million as at December 2023.

The bank’s customer deposits have also skyrocketed from GH₵203.65 million to GH₵314.37 million in two years.

Again, the bank remarkably improved its profitability from GH₵3.1 million in 2021 to GH₵20.9 million in 2023 financial year. This is the highest recorded in the history of bank and the 4th highest in the rural banking sector in 2023.

Commenting on what he desires to achieve in his tenure of office, this is what Mr. Abraham Coffie said, I want the bank to be an accomplished bank in the rural banking industry by providing efficient financial services through motivated human resource and application of improved technology.

In conclusion the entire rural banking industry has seen some tremendous growth for the past ten years particularly in the area of corporate governance with emphasis on compliance and operating strictly under the company’s code regulated heavily by the Bank of Ghana with good support services by the ARB Apex Bank PLC.

In spite of all the shake ups that occurred in 2017 by the Ministry of Finance to clean up the financial system, as well as the locked-up investments, not even a single rural bank customer has lost a deposit, this is a clear indication that good leadership is really transforming the fortunes of rural banks in Ghana.

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