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ARB Apex Bank to operate as a mini Central Bank
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Business News of Saturday, 21 October 2006

Source: GNA

ARB Apex Bank to operate as a mini Central Bank

Abokobi, Oct. 21, GNA 96 Parliament would promulgate the ARB Apex Bank Regulations to enable it operate as a mini Central Bank in the country when it resumes this month.

The regulations would empower ARB Apex, the umbrella body of Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) to establish compliance measures that would enhance monitoring, supervision and control of their operations. This was announced by Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in a speech read on his behalf at the annual shareholders meeting of Abokobi Area Rural Bank at Abokobi, in the Ga East District on Saturday.

He said the measure formed part of Government's strategies to improve the policy and regulatory environment of the rural banking sector.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said Government would continue to encourage the establishment of RCBs and support their efforts as part of the Financial Sector Reforms to deepen the scope and scale of financial services and payment systems for the rural economy. The Finance and Economic Planning Minister said the broad objective was to strengthen the overall capacity of RCBs for effective intermediation as evidenced in the allocation of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) using rural banks as vehicles for micro credit schemes.

He said in support of such an objective, Government had sourced 15 million dollars funding for the Micro Credit Scheme that would be channelled through the RCBs.

=93All these are to reposition the country as the financial hub of the West African Sub-Region and the preferred destination of international capital to allow for full integration into the global economy.

=93Government would continue to ensure that its development agenda of deepening the scope and scale of financial services delivery to enhance access to credit becomes a right rather than a need especially for the rural economy,=94 he added.

Mr Baah-Wiredu commended the Board of Directors and Management of the bank for instituting measures that had begun to bear fruits with increases in assets base, investment, loans and overdraft, and stated capital.

The bank's deposit grew by 26 per cent, credit relatively jumped by 45 per cent in rural related activities such as agriculture, trading, and salary support within the catchments of Abokobi.

Mr Emmanuel Kwapong, Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank said achievements of the bank should spur it on to attain greater heights. He said an area that the bank could make more income was loans and advances adding, 93We have noted that your advances in 2005 increased by about 1.45 billion cedis or 42.2 per cent over that of 2004.=94 Mr Kwapong said the bank could release more funds for advances when comparing the total deposit of 12.65 billion cedis to advances of 4.89 billion cedis and investments of 7.70 billion cedis.

He said with the growing competition, there was the need for the bank to adopt aggressive, prudent but flexible approach to banking to stay in business, made more money and provided shareholders value for money.

Mr Kwapong announced that ARB Apex Bank had engaged the services of Merchant Bank Ghana Limited as consultants to clean up and update the share register of RCBs.

Mr Sam Clegg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Abokobi Area Rural Bank in statement read for him declared a dividend of 150 cedis per share.

He said in 2005, the bank recorded a dip in gross profit of 440.454 million cedis as against 458.504 million cedis in 2004 due to the steady decline in the 91-Day Treasury bill Discount rate and increase in operations.

The bank's total assets grew from 12.18 billion cedis in 2004 to 15.317 billion cedis in 2005.

Its stated capital as at the end of December 2005 stood at 573,888,290 cedis, which is above the Bank of Ghana's minimum requirement of 500 million cedis for RCBs.

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