THE Akuapem Rural Bank in the Eastern Region recorded a 12 per cent increase in deposits from GH¢49 million in 2017, to GH¢54.9 million in 2018 despite several challenges confronting the country's banking sector.
Additionally, the bank grew its total assets by 11.41 per cent from GH¢60.7million in 2017 to GH¢67.5 million in 2018, according to the Chairperson of the bank's board, Mrs Emma Cordelia Owusu-Amoa.
At the bank's 38th annual general meeting at Mamfe in the region on Saturday, Mrs Owusu-Amoa attributed the feat to the high patronage of the bank's services, particularly the Akusika (Susu) product.
However, she said the bank's net profit after tax of GH¢2.40 billion in 2018, signaled a slower growth of 12.5 per cent year-on-year in December 2018 compared with 21.7 per cent growth in 2017.
"Interest income and interest expense respectively declined by 7.0 percent and 18.0 percent in 2018, partly as a result of the general decline in interest rates during the year and lower levels of loans and borrowings," she stated
Mrs Owusu-Amoa therefore, announced that GH¢478,481 had been earmarked for dividend for 2018 financial year, constituting a payout ratio of 53.1 per cent as compared to 45.0 per cent of GH¢572,782 in 2017.
Highlighting other successes, she said the bank's paid-up capital, grew from GH¢1.7 million in 2017 to GH¢2.1 million in 2018, an increase of 21.35 per cent while total loans/advances of GH¢ 33.5million was disbursed for the year 2018.
Mrs Owusu-Amoa added that the bank's loans and advances portfolio also saw a significant increase of 18.76 per cent, from GH¢14.6 million in 2017 to GH¢17.3million in 2018.
The bank's net interest income, she said, increased marginally from GH¢10.51million in 2017 to GH¢10.56 million in 2018, representing 0.44 per cent over the results for the previous year.
These feats, she said culminated into the bank being ranked the 10th among 143 Rural and Community Banks (RCBs)in the country by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit (EMU) of the ARB Apex Bank at the end of December 2018.
She therefore implored the customers of the bank to continue to do business with the bank as the management continued to introduce tailor-made products and services meant for all customers.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of the ARB Apex Bank, Mr Kojo Mattah, commended the directors and management of the bank on the modest Profit before Tax recorded and urged all stakeholders to sustain the gains.
He said despite recent challenges in the financial services sector, the positive results being posted by most RCBs coupled with the transparent management meant such banks had strong footing and advised them to refrain from transactions they were not familiar with.
Mr Mattah, however, said although the banking sector clean-up by the Central Bank led to a general reduction in customer confidence, it was picking up slightly and that it was only through innovative and customer-centric banks that would continue to return good investments or investor funds.