The ARB Apex Bank, the umbrella body of rural and community banks is to withdraw its bullion van services to the banks in order assist them to acquire their own means of such services.
The Apex Bank has therefore entered into an arrangement with Japan Motors Limited to supply the rural and community banks, a double Cabin Pick-Ups to be converted into bullion vans for their specie services.
Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu, Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank announced this at the Abokobi Area Rural Bank Limited 16th annual general meeting on Saturday.
The MD noted that management of the ARB Apex Bank believed such a decision would enable rural banks to reduce their operational cost of specie delivery as a result of the redenomination exercise carried out by the Bank of Ghana.
"We are therefore, encouraging all Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) to take advantage of this special credit arrangement being offered by the Bank to ensure the safety and security of specie delivery," he said.
In addition, Mr Osei-Bonsu said, the Bank had introduced changes such as restricting the corporate ownership of RCBs to 50 percent of the total shares, debarring financial institutions to hold share in rural banks and restricting family ownership to 40 percent.
Others included restricting individual share ownership to 30 percent of total shares and ensuring that shares of RCBs are always available for purchase by the public.
Mr Osei-Bonsu said with the new minimum capital of RCBs set at GH¢150,000, banks were not to pay dividends unless they meet the requirement and also noted that secondary reserves for RCBs would be abolished with the implementation of the computerisation project.
He said Bank of Ghana's approval for loans above GH¢2,000 would no longer be required and rather RUCs would be required to submit to the BOG, returns on loans granted monthly.
Mr Sam Clegg, Board Chairman of the Abokobi Area Bank announced a profit before tax of GH¢56,499.00 for the year 2007 as against GH¢21,278.00 in 2006. It however, posted a net profit (after tax) for the year under review of GH¢50,342.00.
He said due to the new minimum capital requirement of RCBs, the bank would not declare dividend this year and appealed to shareholders to support the motion to transfer about GH¢95,000 to the bank's stated capital.
Mr Clegg said the bank during the year established an internal audit control unit which helped to significantly reduced irregularities in the operations.
He said due to the bank's impressive performance, the newly approved Managing Director of the Abokobi Area bank, Mrs Matilda Bruce-Arthur was selected on merit to participate in an international microfinance project in India and assured shareholders that the Board was considering the introduction of bank microfinance scheme.
The Board Chairman also announced plans to expand the bank's agencies to catch up with the growing banking challenges saying "the 'big' banks are fast infiltrating into our area and we need to be proactive and act."
He paid tribute to shareholders and said the bank had continued to grow with their support and added that prudent policies would be introduce to improve the bank's operations, service delivery and shareholder value.
The bank currently has over 3,000 shareholders with 10,000 customers. Its total deposits now stands at GH¢ 1,826,029 from 1,539,383 in 2006 representing an increase of 19 per cent.