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Business News of Sunday, 4 June 2006

Source: GNA

Pay loans granted by banks - Women groups told


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Kasoa (C/R), June 4, GNA - Mrs. Rose Newman, National Vice President of the Association of Rural Banks, has expressed concern about the refusal of the women groups and other customers to repay loans granted them under the micro-finance programme. She stated that the programme, was initiated by the government and the World Bank to help reduce poverty facing people in rural areas especially women and urged them not to throw the laudable idea out of gear.

Mrs. Newman, who is also acting President of the Central Regional Chapter of the Association, pointed out that their refusing to pay loans could lead to the collapse of rural banks.

She was addressing the second Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Odupong Kpehe Rural Bank at Kasoa in the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District. The micro-finance programme, which is the bedrock of rural banks, is being thwarted due to the attitude of some customers, which is creating many problems for the banks, she said, adding that, some people had the perception that the money belonged to the government and was therefore free.

She asked the banks to give adequate education to the groups and individuals before granting them the facility to ensure easy recovery. The beneficiaries of micro-finance should repay the money for others to benefit, she added.

Mrs. Newman, who is also the Chairperson of the Board of the Gomoa Ajumako Rural Bank, said the Central Regional Chapter of the Association, had outlined a number of training workshops to equip the managers and board members to enhance customer service. She advised rural banks in the region to adopt effective innovative mobilisation strategies to increase their share capital to improve their capital funding.

Mr. Isaac Arkhust Mensah, Administrator of the Central Regional Chapter of the Association Rural Banks, urged members of the Association not to flout the banking rules and regulations.

He noted that the Chapter would continue to adopt measures that would help the banks in the region to operate effectively to generate more funds for lending to customers to reduce poverty. Mr. Mensah called on the banks to intensify their door-to-door services to mop up more deposits.

Mr. Newton Mati of the Banking Operations Department at the ARB Apex Bank, said as at December 2005, total assets of the bank was 2.62 billion cedis as compared to 2.03 billion cedis in December, 2004 while total deposits increased from 1.68 billion cedis to 2.19 billion cedis during the period.

The bank also made a profit before tax of 50.27 million cedis in the previous years as against 65.31 million cedis in 2005.

Mr. Mati noted that the current relative stability and improvement of the economy had led to the lowering of the interest rate of treasury bills and notes, one of the main source of income of rural banks and urged them to adopt measures to enhance their share capita. Mr. Lovelace Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Director of the Bank, stated that loans and advances granted to customers increased from 347 million in 2004 to 501 million cedis in 2005 and said the bank would continue to pursue the micro-finance scheme vigorously to reduce poverty among the people especially women. 04 June 06

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