TWENTY-SIX years into its operations, the Bosomtwe Rural Bank with headquarters at Kuntanase, is determined never to stray from its original focus of contributing positively to the development of the rural economy.
At the 19th annual general meeting (AGM) of shareholders of the bank last week, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, stated that the bank continued to channel more resources towards the development of the rural areas with the view of helping to reduce poverty among the rural people, most of whom are farmers.
One of the major reasons behind the institution of the rural banking concept in the country is to boost the rural economy.
In this regard the banks are expected to take active interest in the development of agriculture and cottage industry, which were the major preoccupations of the people.
Some of the banks have strayed from their core functions but that is not the case of the Bosomtwe Rural Bank.
Over the years, the bank has channelled substantial funds into the two sectors to bring some hope to the people in its catchment area.
Significantly, the development has not had adverse effects on the operations of the bank as it continues to chalk up successes in its operations to make it one of the strongest rural banks not only in the Ashanti Region, but the entire nation.
Lack of funds to finance agriculture is one of the major problems confronting farmers in the Ashanti Region.
The situation has had negative affects on the growth of agriculture in the region as many farmers continue to grapple with the problem of getting the required finances to improve production.
Again, cottage industries have not seen significant growth, calling for the injection of more capital into the sector to reverse the situation.
It is in this vein that the Bosomtwe bank continues to receive tonnes of praise for its role in rural development.
At the 19th AGM, Mr Osei-Mensah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe, said the bank channelled a total of GH¢290,622 into agriculture and cottage industries in the year 2008. This represented an increase of 7.35 per cent over the previous year’s profit.
Micro credit also went up from GH¢885.8 million in 2007 to GH¢2.9 million in 2008 while profits before tax jumped from GH¢368,280 to GH¢395,694 within the same period.
The achievements happened against the backdrop of adverse developments in both the global and domestic economies, especially declining interest rates, the high crude oil prices and unstable electricity supply, among others, which the country experienced in 2007.
These developments could have seen a decline in the bank’s performance but prudent management enabled it to record significant performance in its operation.
No bank can operate successfully without a strong assets base so when Mr Osei-Mensah announced at the AGM that the total assets of the bank also grew from GH¢8.3 million in 2007 to GH¢9.6 million in 2008 while total deposits jumped from GH¢6.5 million to GH¢7.6 million within the same period, it left no one in doubt that the bank was positioning itself very well to contribute to rural development.
Banks are also set up to support the communities and institutions within their catchment areas in terms of community development projects. Here too, the Bosomtwe Bank has never faltered.
A total of GH¢16,980 was spent in this direction last year. Areas that benefited from the gesture included education, health, security, social amenities, district farmers’ day celebration and scholarship for brilliant needy students.
In spite of the challenges in the financial sector, the bank hopes to perform even better in the coming years so that the rural people will continue to enjoy the best from it.