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Business News of Monday, 22 June 2020


Rural banks reacting to decline in economic activity

Okomfo Anokye Rural Bank Okomfo Anokye Rural Bank

Krif Ghana Limited has organized its 3rd edition of the Webinar Series on the “Effects of COVID-19 on Corporate Ghana” with the focus on Rural banks.

In his presentation, Mr. Kennedy Obiri-Yeboah, the Board Chairman of Okomfo Anokye Rural Bank, Kumasi described how the bank actually experienced an increase in customer deposits after the lockdown was lifted in April this year.

According to him, this has helped them to reach their highest deposit level so far from an average of GHc55 million previously to GHc60 million by the late June 2020. He attributed this development to the banks’ ability to curb panic withdrawals by targeting businesses in the viable industries during the pandemic.

However, he explained that this is not the general trend since most rural banks lost as much as GHc5 million on average during the 21- day lock down period in April 2020, coupled with increase in operational costs attributed to obeying COVID-19 protocols. Furthermore, due to the decline in economic and social activity, customers have no longer been applying for loans, and there has been a decline in the funeral industry which is known in the Ashanti Region to generate a lot of economic activity.

According to Mr. Obiri-Yeboah, the adoption of digital banking platforms, despite the cost involved to rural banks, is the way to go in these difficult times. He suggested some strategies the rural banks should adopt going forward, which included, adoption of more robust and next-generation technologies, mass education in the use of digital platforms such as E-banking, and the use of live chats for additional customer support.

Dr. Alex Asmah, the Chief Executive Officer of Amenfiman Rural Bank, mentioned that this year, Amenfiman Rural Bank had extended credit of over GH¢32 million to over 10,000 farmers using both individual and group lending strategies.

He said at the initial stages of the restrictions, there were uncertainties about the future, so most Rural and Commercial Banks (RCB) switched to risk management mode mainly strategizing around the possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their banks.

The purpose of the webinar, according to Rev. Kennedy Okosun, the Chief Executive Officer of Krif Ghana Ltd. and Krif Media, is focused on the impact of Covid-19 on rural banks and strategies adopted to mitigate the negative consequences of the pandemic.

“Rural banks in Ghana have over the years played a very integral role in providing opportunities for microfinance clients, salaried workers, small and medium enterprises and the vast majority of Ghanaians.”

He commended rural banks such as Fiaseman Rural Bank, Atwima Mponua Rural bank, Amenfiman Rural bank, Ahantaman Rural bank, South Akyem Rural bank, Juaben Rural bank, Atwima Kwanwoma rural bank, Amansie West Rural bank, Odotobri Rural bank, Kintampo Rural bank and Akuapem Rural Bank, which have consistently featured in the Ghana’s Club 100 list in the last 5 years.