Shareholders urged to make assistance given them worthwhile

Prof Paul Buah-Bassuah, Chairman of the Board of the Twifo Rural Bank, has appealed to shareholders of the bank to keep faith with it by ensuring prompt re-payment of loans. He expressed concern that huge loans granted under the Social Investment Fund (SIF), MASLOC and Community-Based Development Project (CBRDP) packages last year remains unpaid and that it was sad to note that some defaulters thought the loans had been written off. Prof. Buah-Bassuah, who said this at the 18th Annual General Meeting of the bank, said GH�93,646.59 from GH�1,424,978.00 loans granted to improve agriculture, cottage industry and transport among other businesses are overdue. He said this had "created a big problem" for the bank and cautioned that if vigorous steps were not taken it would derail the objectives of the bank. He said the board and management had taken legal action against many of the defaulters. Prof. Buah-Bassuah said in addition to the attitude of defaulters, the bank faced a serious liquidity problem due to the credit crunch with customers rushing in for their deposits. This has led to a serious decline in its deposits from GH�2,242,942.00 in 2007 to GH�2,134,078.00, in 2008, showing a decrease of 5.11%. Prof. Buah-Bassuah said the bank's capital base also decreased from GH�206,416.00 to GH�86,863.00 within the same period, showing a decrease of 137.64%, investment in treasury bills from GH�322,380.00 to GH�307,380.00, and its total assets, from GH�3,079, 376.00 to GH�2,562,774.00. The Board Chairman said due to positive measures put in place, the bank's investment in treasury bills which reduced to GH�307,380.00, last year, had increased to GH�600,380.00 this year and that it has also registered an increase in its capital. He announced plans by the bank to set up a scholarship scheme for brilliant but needy students in both senior high school and tertiary institutions for shareholders with minimum shareholdings of GH�800.00. In an address read for him the Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank, Mr. Eric Osei-Bonsu, said in view of the complex and rapidly changing environment, rural banks were expected to enhance their operational efficiency and risk management in order to operate effectively. He appealed to the bank to strengthen its internal controls to ensure that operations were carried out in an orderly manner consistent with best practices in the banking industry.