COVID-19: Rural Banks Reacting To Reduction In Economic Activity

Krif Ghana Limited has launched its 3rd edition of the Webinar Series on the “Effects of Covid-19 on Corporate Ghana” with the focus on Rural banks.

In his presentation, Mr Kennedy Obiri-Yeboah, the Board Chairman of Okomfo Anokye Rural Bank, Kumasi explained how the bank actually experienced an increase in clients deposits after the lockdown was lifted in April this year.

Based on his speech, this has helped them to reach their highest deposit level so far from an average of GHc55 million previously to GHc60 million by late June 2020. He attributed this development to the banks’ ability to stop panic withdrawals by targeting businesses in viable industries during the outbreak.

However, he elaborated that this is not the general trend since most rural banks lost as much as GHc5 million on average during the 21- day lockdown period in April 2020, coupled with an increase in operational costs attributed to obeying COVID-19 protocols. Furthermore, due to the reduction in economic and social activity, clients have no longer been applying for loans, and there has been a decline in the funeral industry which is known in the Ashanti Region to generate a lot of economic activity.

According to Mr Obiri-Yeboah, the adoption of digital banking platforms, in spite of the cost involved to rural banks, is the way to go in these hard times. He suggested some strategies the rural banks should adopt going forward, which included, adoption of more robust and next-generation technologies, mass education in the use of digital platforms such as E-banking, and the use of live chats for additional client support.

Dr. Alex Asmah, the Chief Executive Officer of Amenfiman Rural Bank, enumerated that this year, Amenfiman Rural Bank had extended credit of over GHC32 million to over 10,000 farmers using both individual and group lending strategies.

 

He stressed that at the initial stages of the restrictions, there were uncertainties about the future, so most Rural and Commercial Banks (RCB) switched to risk management mode mainly strategizing around the possible effect of the coronavirus pandemic on their banks.

The purpose of the webinar, according to Rev. Kennedy Okosun, the Chief Executive Officer of Krif Ghana Ltd. and Krif Media, is aimed at the effect of COVID-19 on rural banks and strategies adopted to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic.

“Rural banks in Ghana have over the years played a very integral role in providing opportunities for microfinance clients, salaried workers, small and medium enterprises and the vast majority of Ghanaians,” he stressed.

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