Dr Tony Aubynn, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ARB Apex Bank, has disclosed that the government of Ghana’s domestic debt exchange programme (DDEP) has compounded the already fragile situation of many rural and community banks (RCB) in the country.
Dr Tony Aubynn noted that already, RCBs are feeling the serious effects of funds, which have been locked up in some financial institutions regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the domestic debt exchange has compounded the problem.
Dr Tony Aubynn, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ARB Apex Bank, stated this at the opening of the 21st annual general meeting of the ARB Apex Bank. According to him, the rural and community banks held significant funds in government related bonds which have been exchanged for new holdings under the debt exchange programme.
The Chairman indicated that the ARB Apex bank would continue to engage the government and the regulators to help salvage the situation to ensure improvement and sustainability in the rural banking industry.
Dr Aubynn further disclosed that the rural banking sub-sector recorded some improvements last year. Profit before tax grew by 44.6 percent from GH¢113.3 million recorded in 2021 to GH¢164.0 million as at December 2022, he said.
Again, Dr Aubynn noted that total assets grew by 25.6 per cent year-on-year from GH¢6.7 billion to GH₵8.4 billion at the end of December 2022. Deposits also rose to 25.4 percent from GH₵5.9 billion in December 2021 to GH₵7.4 billion. Loans and advances also recorded an increase of 18.2 percent from GH₵2.2 billion to GH₵2.6 billion in 2022.
Apex Bank’s Strategy To Raise Additional Capital
Dr Aubynn noted that RCBs approved the Apex bank’s strategy to raise additional capital of GH₵25.0 million over five years with GH₵5.0 million annually, this he said, would help boost capital base to reduce operational bottlenecks.
With this, he said, paid up capital of the bank also recorded growth from GH₵9.6 million as at December 2022 to GH₵10.9 million as at June 2023. He assured shareholders that, the bank would pay dividends to them as soon as the restrictions on debt exchange programme are relaxed.
Mr Alex Kwasi Awuah, Managing Director of ARB Apex Bank, announced that, the much-awaited financial Sector Development Project (FSDP), under which the anchor mobile Agency and internet banking solutions are to be delivered is gaining momentum.
The internet banking application, he said, shall be ready by the fourth month of 2024. This would bring delight and convenient banking to customers and a major turnaround in the fortunes of the RCBs. He called on shareholders and all customers to stick to them to enjoy better fortunes soon.
On 5th December 2022, the government launched an invitation to exchange the GHS-denominated notes and bonds of the Republic, E.S.L.A. Plc, and Daakye Trust Plc for new bonds of the Republic, which exchange successfully concluded on 21st February 2023. Approximately 85% of holders eligible to participate in the exchange tendered their bonds and notes for a total of GHS82,994,510,128 tendered and exchanged.