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Business News of Saturday, 4 November 2006

Source: GNA

Rural banks urged to pay attractive interest rates

Agona Swedru, Nov. 4, GNA- The Central Regional Minister, Nana Ato Arthur, has called on the rural and Community banks to pay competitive interest rates on customer's deposits as well as dividends on their shares.

He asked the board of directors and managements of the banks to identify and establishing linkages with self-help groups in order to strengthen their operations.

Nana Ato Arthur said this in a speech read for him by the District Chief Executive for Agona Mr. Ben Mensah at the launching of the second Rural/Community Banking Week Celebration at Agona Swedru. He advised the banks to lower their minimum deposit requirement for new customers in order to make banking service accessible all and sundry.

The week-long celebration was under the theme: "innovation, education and poverty reduction, the role of the rural banks. The Regional Minister urged the banks to develop effective banking procedure to meet the needs of the customers within the catchment areas.

Nana Ato Arthur said despite the massive injection of the resources into the economy, the government would still need the assistance of the financial sector in its reduction agenda. He pointed out that rural dwellers lack access to capital, credit and banking services, adding that rural banks can collaborate with the government to help address the situation.

According to Nana Ato Arthur, the sound economy policies being pursued by the government has attracted investors into the country. Mr Kwado Konadu Asamoah, Director of the Association of Rural Banks said the first rural bank was established in the country in 1976 at Agona Nyakrom in the Central Region to help the people have access to banking services.

Mr. Asamoah said the rural banks country-wide last year granted a total of 135.9 billion cedis as micro-credit facility to a total of 122,000 beneficiaries, mostly women to expand their businesses. Mr. Kweku Acquaah, President of the Central Regional Chapter of Association of Rural Banks said 21 banks in the region have embarked on massive economic programme to assist the alleviation of poverty in their catchment areas.