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Rural banking sector: Innovation must drive transformation

The leadership of Atwima Rural Bank in group picture with facilitators of the training workshop

With the banking industry becoming more competitive and sophisticated, in recent times, the rural banking sector will have to adopt groundbreaking strategies in its transformation agenda, the Executive Director of Discovery Leadership Masterclass, Mr. Frank Anim, has said.

The implementation of these innovative strategies, backed by digitisation and cultural transformation will make the rural banking sector more attractive while boosting its competitiveness, it is believed.

Mr. Anim said within the world of banking, COVID-19 and its impact has set the tone that institutions like banks have to put in place the right structures to become more resilient.

These include capital issues, human capital development and other innovative solutions like mobile banking, financial education, among others, which can enable Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) to compete fairly.

He said Atwima Rural Bank, given its remarkable performance at the moment, is poised to regain its position as a leading bank within the rural banking sector.

It is against this background that the bank organised a training workshop – facilitated by the Discovery Leadership Masterclass – for its top management.

The workshop aimed at enhancing the bank’s leadership’s capacity to be able to realise their vision.

The participants were made up of management members including branch managers, heads of departments, unit heads and board directors of the bank.

It is expected that participants will serve as agents to impact staff of the bank in realising the desired vision.

The Chairman-Board of Directors, Mr. Eric Appiah, while entreating participants to take such engagement also noted that human capital is an important asset of the bank.

He said the platform will help the bank identify gaps and work toward addressing these shortfalls.

Mr. Appiah acknowledged that the bank’s recent performance has been commendable.  However, he said, efforts must be made to build on the current performance – especially heading into the next financial year.

Speaking in an interview on the workshop’s sidelines, he said the bank cannot realise its vision if the leadership’s thinking is not aligned with the overall vision.

As a result of this, he mentioned that the refresher courses will help shape the leadership’s thinking as well as position them to better deal with emerging issues. He added that similar training workshops will also be organised for bank’s other staff in order to bring everyone along.

Atwima Rural Bank, according to the Board Chairman, has targetted improving its profitability as well as pursuing an exponential growth in deposits mobilisation during 2022.

Mr. Appiah said the bank is working assiduously to ensure that shareholders will get returns on their investments, and therefore entreated them to have confidence in the ongoing process.

The Acting Chief Executive of Atwima Rural Bank, Mr. Isaac Oppong said: “Our intention is to build our capacity. We are doing well already, but we cannot realize a significant improvement in the upcoming year if we fail to build capacity of the staff and their leadership”.

He noted that: “There’s a need to improve deposits, how we relate to customers; and we need to build a very strong workforce who will be able to withstand the changing banking environment”.

Mr. Oppong said RCBs are the ones serving the unbankable population, given their operations in rural parts of the country where commercial banks refuse to operate.

Against this background, he said, the tag ‘rural’ defines the uniqueness of their banking services, in view of which RCBs should not fight the ‘rural’ tag but endeavour to improve on the services and continue making rural banking attractive to all.

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