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Business News of Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Source: B&FT

ARB Apex Bank takes ICT to rural banks

With the advent of the internet and its usefulness, a lot more institutions are making essential use of its software component, particularly in the banking industry- and rural banks are not left out either.

The IT Department of the ARB Apex Bank Limited is leaving no stone unturned to explore all the opportunities necessary to run series of training programmes in ICT to enable rural banks operate more effectively and ensure efficiency in their operations.

It is therefore in this regard that the Apex Bank has commenced a nationwide training programme in ICT to sharpen the skills of rural bank personnel particularly, to address the teething challenges posed by the T-24 software essentials.

The training, being organised by the Training and IT Department of the Apex Bank, is currently underway and taking place in all the ten regions across the country. Participants include General and Supervising Managers, Operations Staff, System Administrators, as well as Internal Auditors.

Mr. Collins Bazaana, a resource person from the IT Department of Apex Bank who spoke to Business & Financial Times in Kumasi during the Kumasi training, said the entire effort to unravel every mystery regarding ICT in banking is to ensure efficiency and become completely acquainted with T-24 essentials and its challenges so that other services like the SMS Alert and Internet Banking can be introduced.

The operations of the over-130 rural banks with approximately 700 branches and agencies have so far been automated under the ARB Apex Bank’s computarisation programme. Currently, all the banks are running on the latest version of the eMerge software known as the T-24.

Computarisation of the rural and community banks under the MCA took off in July 2010, by which time 130 rural and community banks with 750 head-offices and agencies had been migrated onto the eMerge T-24 platform. All rural and community banks can therefore log onto a central database system that is hosted at the Apex Bank Head Office in Accra through a Wide Area Network.

The computarisation has come with a lot of challenges and high running cost, and Apex Bank is working very assiduously to resolve these teething problems and enable the banks offer quality services to their clients at a minimum cost through the introduction of products to increase income streams.