Although falling interest rates remain a burden on the profitability of the Bank, ARB Apex Bank put up an impressive performance, increasing its total operating income by 17 percent from GHS55.5 million in 2018 to GHS64.96 million in 2019.
Assets of the Bank recorded a significant growth of over 47 percent from GHS394.5 million in 2018 to GHS582.4 million in 2019.
This sharp growth was mainly due to growth in deposits and revaluation of the head office building, which value went up by over GHS23.7 million. Deposits also grew by 43 percent from GHS341.2 million in 2018 to GHS488.9 million in 2019.
There was a corresponding growth of 64 percent in loans and advances, rising from GHS37.8 million in 2018 to GHS62.1 million in 2019, due to the extension of more credit and liquidity support to “our RCBs for on-lending to their customers.”
Profit before tax also recorded a moderate growth of 10 percent from GHS0.91 million in the previous year to GHS1.0 million.
These numbers came to light at the virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bank, hosted on Saturday, July 25, 2020.
Optimism about the future
Reading the Chairman’s report, Dr. Tony Aubynn, Chairman of the Board of Directors said the fact that we were now holding a virtual AGM confirms the cliché that “proves that we are truly not in normal times.”
He said he was optimistic that the situation would normalise so that there could be an opportunity for all Directors and Shareholders of the Bank to meet again.
The AGM brought together Directors, Shareholders, and Shareholders’ representatives of the Bank on a virtual platform. Board members of the ARB Apex Bank converged at the head office of the Bank, while other participants joined the meeting through a virtual link, a first in the history of the Bank.
Dr Aubynn encouraged shareholders of Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) which have not yet met the new Regulatory Minimum Capital of GHS1.0 million to work harder to shore up their capital reserves.
Innovation to serve customers better
According to Mr Kojo Mattah, Managing Director of the Bank, “…we continued with our push to launch our much-awaited World Bank funded Agency Banking, which is in three phases. Phase one is the Data Centre upgrade, for which a contract has already been awarded. The second phase, involves the procurement of equipment and has gone through the various stages and I can assure all Shareholders converged virtually that this project would culminate in the phase three, which is the launch before the end of 2020.”
Mr Mattah also took the opportunity to thank the previous Board “for the immense leadership and support they provided for the Bank. Their support for the many initiatives we took, including the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) project, the completion of an ultra-modern office building complex at Koforidua to house our Eastern Regional Office, and the Association of Rural Banks. This novel project, we believe, would go a long way in reducing our rental costs.”
He commended the immediate past Directors for pushing Management very hard to complete the Eastern Region project within one year.
Mr Mattah said “we could not commission the office as all of us were taken unawares by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With permission from the new Board, I am confident that as soon as things normalize and the ban on large gatherings has been lifted, we shall be happy to invite the former Directors to also come and be part of the grand opening of the history they have helped to write in the annals of ARB Apex Bank and rural banking in general.”
He did a roll call of our indefatigable immediate past Directors, a couple of whom had been retained on the Board. The immediate past Board Members include: Mr James Kwame Otieku, Chairman, who represented the Eastern Chapter; Osagyefo Amanfu Edu VI, Vice-Chairman, who represented the Western Region; Mr Yaw Odame-Darkwa, Brong Ahafo Representative; Dr Joseph France, Representative of the Bank of Ghana; Ms Yvonne Odoley Quansah, Representative of the Ministry of Finance; Mr Larry Kwesi Jiagge (Esq.), Volta Region Representative (retained as Vice-Chair); Nana Bram Okae II, Greater Accra Region Representative; Mr Ronald Acquah-Arhin, Central Region Representative; Alhaji Fusheini Seidu, Upper East Region Representative; Dr Nana Akowuah Boamah, immediate-past President of the National Association of Rural Banks; Mr Anthony K. Forkah, Upper West Region Representative, and Dr Philip Amakye, Ashanti Region Representative.
ARB Apex Bank is the ‘mini’ central bank of the RCBs in Ghana. It was granted the banking license in June 2001 and admitted to the Bank of Ghana’s Clearing House in August 2001.
There are more than 144 RCBs and over 800 branches spread across all the 16 regions of the country, making ARB Apex Bank and the RCBs the largest network of banks in Ghana. The RCBs are the main shareholders of ARB Apex Bank.