The ARB Apex Bank has rated the performance of the Builsa Community Bank (BUCO BANK) at Sandema in the Upper East Region last year as satisfactory.
The BUCO Bank took 60th position out of 141 rural banks nationwide with a profit before tax of GH¢526,234 and total assets of GH¢20,767,103 according to the 2016 report by the Monitoring Unit of the ARB Apex Bank.
The Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank Limited, Mr Kojo Mattah, made this known in a speech read on his behalf at the 17th Annual General Meeting of the BUCO Bank at Sandema last Saturday.
He intimated that the Bank of Ghana intended to review the ARB Apex Bank Regulations 2006 (L.I.1825) to reflect the changes in the new Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930).
That, according to him, would ultimately make the regulations more responsive to the current needs of the ARB Apex Bank and other community banks.
The President of the Upper East Chapter of the Association of Rural Banks, Alhaji Sheriff Adams, observed that the BUCO Bank's profit and other healthy financial indicators were sufficient evidence of effective and efficient management of the bank's resources.
“I am, therefore, confident that your bank will meet the mandatory minimum stated capital of GH¢1 million by December 2017; however, l wish to advise shareholders to buy more shares to enable the bank to embark on its expansion drive,” he noted.
According to Alhaji Adams, one area where rural banks could develop and create a unique marketing niche to strengthen their banks was microfinance and susu linked businesses.
“It is time for the rural and community banks to rethink microfinance and susu link given the proliferation of microfinance institutions in their catchment areas,” he stressed.
Alhaji Adams further suggested the need for the banks to venture into Branchless Banking (BB) as it represented significantly cheaper alternatives to conventional branch-based banking that allowed financial institutions and other commercial actors to offer financial services outside traditional bank premises.
The Board Chairman, Naab Akanab Apoom-Ween, said during the year under review, the BUCO Bank spent GH¢ 20,662 as against GH¢ 46,152 on education, health, agriculture, culture, sports and the environment as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.
He announced that the bank in line with its five-year strategic plan had acquired a piece of land at a strategic location in Bolgatanga for the construction of its permanent structure in the regional capital.
Naab Apoom-Ween stated that the board had initiated plans to strengthen the bank's comparative advantage through the completion of an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) project before the end of the third quarter of this year.
Other activities to be carried out include the establishment of a comprehensive risk management framework and the creation of risk management, compliance and anti-money laundering unit within the bank.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Rockson Bukari, in a speech read on his behalf, commended the BUCO Bank for supporting 7,000 smallholder farmers and facilitating the payment of grants to over 20,000 beneficiaries under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme.