The ARB Apex Bank will soon introduce an ICT security policy to help rural and community banks (RCBs) reduce risks associated with the implementation of ICT products.
The Bank’s Managing Director, Mr K.A Kusi in a speech read on his behalf at the Abokobi Area Rural Bank’s 2013 Annual General Meeting at the weekend, said work on introducing the security for RCBs network and subsequently the policy had already begun.
Modern banking, he said, had become very competitive and risky, and with the current pace of development in ICT, banks would in no doubt assumed additional risks and new challenges.
To minimize the risks, he said, there was the need for effective risks management at all levels of corporate governance, which called for risks management policy to identify, assess, monitor and control operational and credit risks, among others.
Mr Kusi said one major area where RCBs could develop and create a unique marketing niche to strengthen their banks was through micro-finance business.
Although almost all RCB’s are operating some form of micro-finance, he said, they must promote it (micro-finance) to sustain their banks and improve their overall results.
Mr Kusi also announced that the ARB Apex Bank, which is the umbrella body of all RCBs in the country, was commencing branchless banking with the procurement of the Temenos Arc Mobile Platform.
“One of the primary impediments to providing financial services to the poor through branches and other bank-based delivery channels is the high cost inherent in these traditional banking methods.
“In addition, when financial service providers do not have branches that are close to the customer, the customer is less likely to use and transact their service.
“Branchless banking (BB) represents a significantly cheaper alternative to conventional branch-based banking that allows financial institutions and other commercial; actors to offer financial service outside traditional bank premises by using delivery channels like retail agents, mobile phone etc.”
To ensure that the rural banking system attracts more attention and interest from the public, Mr Kusi said, the ARB Apex Bank would continue to provide strategies to enhance the image of the industry.
He said the bank had reduced the interest rates on its barrowings to the RCBs from the 20 per cent and above to the 15 per cent and urged them (RCBs) to take advantage of the development.
Mr Kusi said with the assistance of DANIDA, the Apex bank had also instituted a merger fund to assist RCB’s intending to merge with paid for Consultancy services.
Congratulating the Abokobi Area Rural bank, Mr Kusi said: “Your profits, which increased by over 400% in 2012 as against that recorded in 2011, and other healthy financial indicators… are sufficient evidence of the effective and efficient management of the resources of this Bank.”
“It is my hope that you will continue to chalk greater successes in the years ahead. I wish to mention that the Abokobi Rural Bank was rated satisfactory in the 1st quarter 2013 report of the Efficiency Monitoring Unit of the Apex Bank.”
He, however, said the bank could do more by way of deposit and share mobilization; cost control and reduction; risk management and compliance.
The Abokobi Bank, a pioneer rural bank in Ghana, made a whopping 519.99 per cent increase in profit before tax jumping from GH¢58,868.00 in 2011 to GH¢306,108.00 in 2012.
Board Chairman of the Abokobi bank, Nii Afutu Brempong III said the future direction would be to open more branches, expand its microfinance programme, repackage its Susu scheme, provide mobile banking service, intensify loan recovery and build capacity of its staff.