Atwima Rural Bank at Foase in the Atwima Kwamwoma district of Ashanti Region has started recording some positive gains from January this year, after a short period of operational distress.
The bank made a profit of approximately GH¢284,000 as at May 2021 against a loss of a little over GH¢368,692.41 in same period of 2020. By this, the Board and Management have resolved to work hard on improving the bank’s profit position going into the future.
This historic positive result was realised due to the sacrifice and hard work of the Board, Management and Staff which they have resolved to continue – and to work much harder and spare no effort until the bank regains its lost glory.
The bank, during its Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in 2019, introduced the Angel Group of Companies – a Kumasi-based private company owned by Dr. Kwaku Oteng – as a strategic investor.
The company’s equity investment in Atwima Rural Bank helped the bank meet the Minimum Capital of GH¢1million mandated for all rural banks by the Bank of Ghana, and this has contributed immensely to the bank’s current profit-making state.
By this positive development, the board and key management of the bank are poised to work tirelessly to ensure it remains profitable now and in the foreseeable future.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Eric Appiah, announced these and more at the bank’s 27th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders held last Saturday at Atwima Foase, near Kumasi.
According to the Board Chairman, inflation reached 10.4% in 2020 from 8.7% in 2019 due to pandemic-related interruptions in supply chains and expansionary monetary policy aimed at mitigating the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Ghana cedi depreciated by 3.9% in 2020, compared with a 12.9% depreciation in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic put many businesses into unknown operational circumstances, impacting negatively on how businesses fared. The Rural Banking Sector was not spared, as during the pandemic it was listed as one of the most vulnerable sectors – which led to a significant economic slowdown and heightened some risks faced by the industry.
He further mentioned that the pandemic has given rise to unprecedented challenges which have affected virtually every aspect of modern life. The economic implications of the virus will have consequent impacts on many aspects of accounting and financial reporting.
In spite of the challenging macroeconomic environment coupled with an unprecedented pandemic that pertained during the reviewed year, the bank managed to record some positive variants in some of the financial indicators for 2020 as indicated in the table below.
Performance Indicator for 2020 as against 2019
|Loans and Advances||9,358,265||9,694,533||-3.47|
The Board is not recommending any dividend payment because the bank did not make profit in the year under review and the Bank of Ghana’s directive (NOTICE NO. BG/GOV/SEC/2020/03) dated 20th April 2020 – mainly due to the estimated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on banks in general.
The General Manager, Mr. Felix Owusu Akyew, in an interview with Business & Financial Times assured shareholders of an improvement in the bank’s current profit position, which will continue to play a signiﬁcant role in government’s ﬁnancial inclusion agenda.
According to him, now that the bank is on a profit-making trajectory, he is very optimistic that the effort so far will not be in vain; and management and the board are doing everything operationally possible to put the bank back on a sound footing.
According to him, the bank will continue to see its strength in the area of managing the credit needs of small and medium enterprises, as well as continuing to improve upon the support it offers to this sector of the economy.
The Business Development Manager of Bank, Mr. Isaac Oppong Asumadu-Sakyi, said the bank is developing very attractive financial products and services which are tailor-made.
“We will also embark on an aggressive deposit mobilisation exercise and give quality loans with high-rate recovery to improve upon our profitability, as well as manage stakeholders’ expectations effectively and efficiently going into the future,” he stressed.
In an address, Mr. George Annor – the Ashanti Regional Manager of ARB Apex Bank – on behalf of the Managing Director of Apex Bank, Mr. Kojo Mattah, commended the strategic investor and urged directors and management of Atwima Rural Bank to spare no effort in improving upon the current state of the bank, now that they have been able to meet the minimum share capital and started recorded profit.
He advised management and staff to be compliant with the banking regulations so as to always be in the good books of regulatory bodies, which he believes will add to growth of the bank as well as boosting its image
He further encouraged Atwima Rural Bank and all other member-banks to strive to perfect their small business financing, because that niche segment holds huge potential for the rural bank sub-sector.