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Business News of Saturday, 12 May 2018


Credit union to prosecute loan defaulters in Navrongo

Authorities of the Navrongo Assemblies of God Co-operative Credit Union have announced their readiness to prosecute this May members who fail to pay back what the union’s board of directors calls “over-aged loans”.

Chairman of the board, Augustine. A. Atanga, served this warning at the union’s 10th Anniversary and 5th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held Saturday in the Upper East region under the theme: “With Savings, Your Dreams Thrive.”

“One of the problems facing financial institutions is loan delinquency and our union is no exception. We have over-aged loans which are sitting in our books and creating a high loan delinquency rate for our union.

“Processes have been put in place to prosecute all loan defaulters this very month of May, 2018. We would also employ the debt collection agents to engage the recalcitrant ones and collect our money for us,” Mr. Atanga said.

He added: “The Board of Directors, Loans Committee Chairman and the staff met some members and their families to discuss processes of repaying their loans. I am glad to report that some of them complied and have paid substantial amount of their loans. We want to also ask that all co-operators, who take delight in paying only interest element with the excuse to come and clear the balance when the repayment date is due, should be stopped henceforth. Staff who agrees to such transactions will be severely sanctioned.”

Credit unions rise after fall of micro-finance companies

The recent fall of some microfinance institutions in the country reportedly is prompting residents in the region at a significant rate to look to credit unions as a safer alternative to keep and grow their investments.

So crushing was the toll of the collapse of the financial firms that affected members of the union, speaking to journalists at the event, registered a strong resolution not to believe, let alone welcome, any offer from any microfinance company again.

“The Power Grounds, we have a member at that [agency]. He came to the church and educated us. We asked him questions and he answered. Then, we went to deposit the money. It was time for me to go for my money. When I went, a crowd was there. They were shouting. They were throwing stones. So, I left the place,” said Mary Achou, who invested Gh¢5,000 for a livestock business and never got the money back.

“It has affected me, with my family,” she added. Asked if she would ever sign up for a similar deal in the future, she replied strongly in the negative. “I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t.”

Recounting the effects of the collapse of the DKM Microfinance Company Limited on his business, a board member of the union and former chairman of the union’s loan committee, Alfred Babongyire, said, though the outcome of saving at the collapsed institutions generally was tragic, it had also brought about a good development.

“Many who were not buying the idea of the credit union realised later that we are more reliable than the microfinance [companies] even though they were giving quick dividends to them. After the collapse, a number of people came and that boosted up the number of the members in the union,” the board member said.

Create a Cash Cushion

The event saw in attendance the Upper East Regional Director of Cooperatives, Roland Anyana, the District Pastor of the Navrongo Assemblies of God Church, Rev. Abraham Ayiakwo, the Upper East Regional Manager of Credit Union Associations, Iddrisu Hamza, and the Upper East Chapter Chairman of Credit Union Associations, Isaac Amuriyaga, among other notable guests.

As they took turns to address the gathering, speakers underscored the need for members to imbibe the idea of saving, to remain in the union and to pay back without delay loans obtained from the union.

“You read in Matthew Chapter 6 where Jesus talks about the fact that we don’t need to store up treasures on earth. He also says we should not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Those verses are very important and should be taken seriously. But we cannot also deny the fact that the Bible talks a lot about saving. Yes, he will take care of tomorrow. Yes, we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow. But don’t forget he has given you the ability to also save what he has given to you.

“Proverbs Chapter 13 Verse 22 says: ‘A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children...’. Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship’. In other words, save and don’t spend anyhow,” expounded Rev. Ayiakwo.

Also quoting American business magnate, the preacher said: “Warren Buffet once said, ‘Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long time ago’. In other words, somebody saved, he invested his time, took care of the tree and now you are sitting, enjoying under the shade. Collect interest on your interest. When you collect your interest, don’t consume it; save it. Create a cash cushion. Save something so that it will cushion you in future.”