Board and management of the Amenfiman Rural Bank has posted a 42 percent growth in profit after tax at the end of the 2019 financial year.
The performance meant profit at the end of 2019 stood at 5,843,592 Cedis from a previous 4,138,729 Cedis.
Bank recorded a significant growth in deposit and new accounts during the year under review in spite of the banking crisis which affected customer confidence during the year.
Total deposit therefore grew from GH¢189.2 million in 2018 to GH¢254.6 million representing 34.6% in 2019 whiles asset grew by 36.5 percent within same period.
Speaking to LUV BIZ at the 36th Annual General Meeting held in the Wasa Akropong district of the Western North Region, the CEO, Dr Alex Asmah said the trend shows confidence in the bank.
“We have been able to show the shareholders that in spite of the difficulties coming from the banking reforms, we performed remarkably, we grew in all aspect on its business.
Everything pointed to the positive and the shareholders were happy. One important thing the bank has been doing to support our communities is that as the bank grows and makes profits, one of its drivers is community development, so we spend a significant amount of our profits to invest back into the communities”, he revealed.
Board Chairman, Dr Tony Aubynn said, this demonstrates customer confidence and loyalty in the Amenfiman brand.
“…with this level of performance, the Board is very confident that the Bank will continue to operate profitably in the year 2020 and beyond despite the impact of the novel corona virus pandemic on business globally.
It will continue to work with management to sustain these gains which have been very consistent over the years. As we introduce more innovation and technology and improve efficiency and service delivery, we are confident of even greater performance in the years ahead.”
Officials say the growth of the bank was supported by aggressive deposit mobilization strategy which shows in all the categories of its customer segmentation.
Meanwhile, in the face of this performance, the Bank of Ghana, has directed all Banks and deposit taking institutions not to declare dividends for the financial 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic on banks.
So the Amenfiman Rural Bank that paid an average dividend of 30 percent annually on shares, did not pay anything under the financial year.
COCOA Farmers Loan
In the midst the banking crisis, the bank managed loan advances increased by 71 percent from 54,450,256 Cedis in 2018 to 93,159,660 Cedis as at the end of 2019.
Through its special farmers loan program, it disbursed over GH¢30 million to over 10,000 farmers compared to GH¢23 million and GH¢17 million during the 2018 and 2017 financial years respectively.
Started five years ago, officials say it has deepened its partnership with smallholder farmers especially cocoa farmers. It has also improved image and acceptance of the Bank in the communities and operational areas.
Chief Executive of the bank, Dr Alexander Asmah, observes a lot of financial institutions stay away from granting loans to farmers because it is risky.
“… because a lot of the farmers are doing small holder farms and might not be undocumented and so most financial institutions do not want to invest in the farmers but look the farmers especially cocoa farmers are those holding this economy together.
The program brought together farmers in cooperatives, educate, train them financially and offer them loans to support their work.
10,000 individual farmers benefited last year.
Dr Asmah revealed these farmers are given moratorium aside other support systems to pay the loans.
“…we give them a long moratorium some up to six months or seven months for them to work on their farms, work on their produce before servicing their loans.
This has been helpful to the farmers and it is the reason our deposit keep growing even in the mist of the pandemic because the farmers have grown to trust us.”
According to him, supporting farmers is the future and so other financial institutions should emulate and support farmers to grow the local economy together.
“Another area the bank has been focusing is also tackle the issue of funding micro-small and medium enterprises, so a lot of the bank’s progress have been coming from this side as well. The areas other financial institutions consider to be risky and difficult to manage that is where we focus and we are able to manage, cater for the risk and get good returns,” he added that, “If we are able to support farmers in our rural communities and micro-small and medium enterprises, I tell you the local economies will grow”.
Corporate Social Responsibility Projects
The Bank during the period has initiated support projects under its corporate social responsibility programs with the aim of giving back to society.
It allocated a total of GHc2.036million towards its CSR projects. Out of the amount, a seed money of GHc1.2million has been disbursed towards the construction of the proposed Amenfi State University College.
In addition, the Board constructed 14 mechanized boreholes in various communities in Wasa Amenfi during the pandemic and also provided street lights to others as part of the lightening Amenfi project.
The bank has also constructed a laundry and stores for the Wasa Akropong Government Hospital and provided financial support for various communities.