Mr Kojo Mattah, the Managing Director (MD) of the ARB Apex Bank Limited, said the Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) sub-sector cannot afford to fail the nation's rural economy.
That, he said, was because the 144 RCBs with more than 850 branch locations and agencies were the livewire of the rural economy.
Mr Mattah said this in an address read on his behalf by Mr Reuben Adamtey, the Sunyani branch Manager of the ARB Apex Bank, at the 31st Annual General Meeting of the Asutifi Rural Bank at Acherensua in the Asutifi South District of the Ahafo Region.
"We cannot afford to do less, because the uniqueness of our branches gives us comparative advantage over the other banks. Let us keep pushing ourselves so that there will come a time when anytime the name of RCBs is mentioned all the other financial sector players will begin to catch cold," he said.
Mr Mattah recounted the recent banking sector crisis and made it clear that RCBs could not continue to operate in silos.
"We must come together to build a very strong and positive image for the RCBs because that is the only way we can continue to grow together as a family with endearing values and shared destinies."
Mr Mattah gave the assurance that the Bank would always stand ready to lead collective efforts "to enhance our image and grow our sector for the teeming shareholders."
Touching on regulatory issues, he reminded the RCBs that the deadline for the Bank of Ghana's recent notice on "Compliance with the Minimum Pay-up Capital for RCBs and Microfinance Institutions" is February 28, this year.
He, therefore, urged shareholders of the Asutifi Rural Bank to buy more shares to enable the Bank to meet the required minimum pay-up capital of one million Ghana cedis.
He advised loan defaulters to make good on their debt to the Bank so as to expand the pool to reach other borrowers without passing on the cost of default to them, thus leading to high lending rates.
"Let us repay our loans and also in time to help the banks to grow their loan portfolios."
Mr Kofi Agyemang, the President of the Brong Ahafo Chapter of the ARBs, commended the Board of Directors of the Asutifi Rural Bank for their hard work, sacrifices and dedication to duty and urged them to keep up the good deeds.
He advised staff to accord its customers the necessary respect during their business transactions.
Nana Antwi Kesse Basahyia, Nifahene of the Achierensua Traditional Council, who stood in for the Omanhene, Agyewodin Professor Adu-Gyamfi Ampem, urged the shareholders to rally behind the Bank to ensure its accelerated growth.
Mr Nicholas Efferh, the Deputy Coordinating Director of the Asutifi District Assembly, said government would continue to protect the interest of financial and other institutions to help develop the national economy.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, the Member of Parliament for the area, urged shareholders and customers to put their shoulders to the wheel to help the Bank live up to expectation.
Mr Kofi Bonsu Boakye-Boateng, former Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister and the highest shareholder was honoured with other hard working shareholders for their zeal and determination in placing the Bank on a sound financial footing.
Mr Anthony Yaw Oppong, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, said he was ready to step down because his term of office had expired.
Management and shareholders in a unanimous decision, however, asked him to stay on and continue with his visionary leadership to help move the Bank forward.