The Board Chairman of ARB Apex Bank, Dr. Tony Aubyn is asking government to involve rural banks in the yet to be launched new Development Bank Ghana.

The involvement of rural and community banks, according to him, will increase support for key sectors of the economy including agriculture and mining.

The World Bank has approved a funding package for the new Development Bank Ghana, as part of Ghana’s development financing project, aimed at boosting access to long-term capital in the country.

Lauding the initiative, Dr. Aubyn said the proposal, if adopted, will fall in line with the idea of growing rural enterprises.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the Annual National Managers’ conference of rural banks at Kwahu-Nkwatia in the Eastern region, Dr. Aubyn said “I’ve always indicated elsewhere and even during this workshop that the idea of a Development Bank which government has embarked on is a good one, but should partner with the rural banks for two reasons. One is that the rural areas are the areas in need of development and the rural banks are in the rural areas and of course, if government need resources to develop the country in most cases they’re provided by the rural geography…I mean the rural areas, they provide those resources.”

“Mines are in the rural areas, cocoa farms are in the rural areas, they are not are in Accra and Kumasi. So I think government should partner with the rural banks”, he explained.           

He however commended the government for its support to rural banks in the past, through policies, amongst others.

“I think the government has been supportive and let me say this, historically, government has supported the rural banking industry through policies. So generally, government has, especially during the Covid-19 situation through the Bank of Ghana provided support for the rural banks to extend its loan disbursement.”

“The Bank of Ghana also sort of slow down the requirement and deadline for the payment of the new capital requirement of ¢1 million by rural banks because of the situation [Covid-19 pandemic]. And I think the liquidity ratio was also somehow adjusted to address the challenges that had come as result the Coronavirus, but I think the industry needs more”, the former Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission said said.

“If you look at the profile of the rural banks and their reach, they reach to more people than any bank in Ghana. In fact, all the big banks put together, the rural banks have more customers – like over 6.5 million customers”, he stated.

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