By Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Sandema (UE), July 25, GNA – In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and its negative impact on businesses, the Builsa Community (BUCO) Bank Limited has diversified its operations to enable it stay in business and to better serve its clients.
In the wake of COVID-19, which has generally slowed down business transactions, the Bank is investing heavily in the agriculture sector to support farmers to increase productivity.
It has also maintained lending to businesses, including enterprises and construction firms, despite the slowdown in business activities.
Mr Richard Awombadek Ajuik, the General Manager, BUCO Bank Limited, made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Sandema in the Builsa North District, Upper East Region.
He said COVID-19 had slowed down business activities and negatively affected borrowing from the Bank as many businesses could no longer pay back loans.
“But in the midst of this, we have thrived and are still in business, but mostly in agrarian communities including Sandema, Fumbisi, Bolgatanga and Yagaba we have diverted our attention to agriculture,” he said.
The General Manager explained that farmer groups had been formed in the operational areas and given financial support to expand their agricultural activities, increase production and pay back after harvest.
This, he said, would not only enable the bank to stay in business and expand its operations but would also ensure that there was increase in food production in the communities to mitigate any potential food security issues.
The General Manager said the bank was strong and stable and committed to serving its customers well, adding that the bank had reduced its interest rate in order to keep clients in business.
“For instance, we have reduced interest rate on loans from 30 per cent to 26 per cent”, he said.
The General Manager said all indicators showed that the bank was performing even better than in 2019 and encouraged customers to continue to do business with it.
He said the bank was not only relying on commerce to increase its revenue but had other innovative ways including registering and paying beneficiaries of Ghana Productive Safety Net, Mobile Money Transfers, Western Union Money Transfer and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP).
“We have over 50,000 LEAP beneficiaries across the four operational districts and we are getting commission from that and if you look at last year’s report on the entire country, we are leading in terms of payment,” he added.
Unlike other organization where workers had been laid off due to COVID-19, the General Manager stated that the bank was stable and was planning to recruit more staff to expand its services to more communities.
Mr Ajuik stated that out of the 144 Rural and Community Banks, the BUCO Bank was ranked third best performing bank by the Association of Rural Banks, Apex Bank and it is the only bank in the five regions of the North to be among the Club 100.