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ARB Apex Bank poised to exceed 2009 good performance in 2010

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ARB Apex Bank Limited (AABL), the umbrella body of rural and community banks, said it has employed efficient cost-cutting measures, which would position it to exceed 2009 performance.

The bank made over 300 per cent growth for the 2009 financial year.

Mr Eric Osei-Bonsu, Managing Director of the Bank, who announced this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Saturday at Apex’s 8th Annual General Meeting in Accra, said management had implemented “lean and mean” prudent measures to ensure long-term sustainability of the Bank.

The measures include reducing the cost of production; controlling use of vehicles, consumables, electricity; limiting number of travels and pruning down of staff strength.

The Bank recorded a net profit of GH¢ 4.8 million in 2009 with its assets growing from GH¢ 61.2 million in 2008 to GH¢ 83.3 million last year.

Mr Osei-Bonsu said management of the Bank would be satisfied if, at the end of the 2010 financial year, the bank was able to record a two-third increase over the 2009 performance.

He added that the Bank would assess the incremental value a person would bring before employing him or her.

Earlier, Mr Osei-Bonsu announced that Apex Bank was ready to provide custodial service for employees of Rural Community Banks (RCBs) for the second and third tiers contributions under the new pension scheme.

“The bank is currently in the process of registering as custodians with the Securities and Exchanges Commission to enable it to undertake the function when the decision has been approved,” he said.

Mr Osei-Bonsu called for organisational and operational restructuring of RCBs in areas of migrating from manual operations to Information Communication Technology, risk management and human resource development to enable them to withstand shocks in the industry.

Apex Bank donated GH¢ 35,443 in support of its corporate social responsibilities in 2009. Some of the beneficiary institutions were the Osu Children’s Home in Accra and the Accra Psychiatric Hospital. It also supported road safety campaigns.

Mr Nathaniel Arthur, Board Chairman of the Bank, said mergers and acquisitions should be the strategic focus for the long-term sustainability of RCBs.

“The merger of RCBs will strengthen their capitalisation, improve income generation and reduce costs,” he said.

Mr Arthur cautioned management of the RCBs to reposition their banks to take advantage of technological transformations taking place in the financial industry.

“Your participation in the transformation of the national payment system with the introduction of e-zwich, cheque codeline clearing and automated clearing house, other card products as well as deployment of micro-finance programmes are key to your continued relevance and survival in the financial sector.

“My plea is that do not look at such investments in the new products and platforms as wasteful short-term expenditure, but rather strategic long-term assets with streams of benefits, which will accrue over a long period of time.”

Mr Arthur said he was optimistic that there would be improvement in revenue collections in 2010 owing to the strengthening of economic activity and prudent fiscal spending.

“Over the medium term, the fiscal deficit is expected to decrease at a faster rate on account of the projected expansion of revenue collections due to a new stream of tax revenue expected from the oil and gas industry.”

Source: GNA

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