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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) Clocks 40 yrs of Excellent Services
By Edward Tommy
Feb 4, 2013, 12:16
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The Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) Commonly called "the People's Bank" has on Saturday, 2nd February, 2012 officially launched and hoisted its flag in commencement  of the bank's forty years anniversary celebration for excellent services to the people of Sierra Leone. The official birthday of the bank is on the 15th of February 2013. The programme was held in front of the bank headquarter building on Siaka Steven Street.

 

In his welcome address, the Managing Director, Mr. Crispin Bishop Deigh said the hoisting of the flag symbolizes the growth and structure of the bank and that as the flag reaches its height in which it interacts with the sun, rain and air, it tells that the bank has over the years gone through so many challenges and has come out tall.

M.D Mr. Crispin Bishop Deigh delivering the welcome address

 

Mr. Deigh also disclosed that the bank was the initiative of the then President Dr. Siaka Probyn Steven who thought it wise to have an all Sierra Leonean bank, owned and managed by Sierra Leoneans to cater for the banking needs of Sierra Leoneans as there was only two British banks operating in the country at the time.

 

The People's Bank, he disclosed, started with a seed capital of five hundred thousand Leones (Le500,000) in February 1973. He further disclosed that the bank now has a shareholder fund of Seventy- two billion Leones (Le72b) which is equivalent to 17 million United State Dollars. He finally called on all Sierra Leoneans to bank with the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank as it is theirs.

Dr.Richard Conteh delivering the keynote address

 

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, Mr. Henry Yagba Bangura said the bank was created for all Sierra Leonean to bank as it is there sole property. He quoted the words of the late President Dr. Siaka Prolyn Steven during the inception of the bank: "The bank is been establish with your money, owned and managed by Sierra Leoneans, so you should take advantage of this so as to ease the banking problems faced by my people," Late President Stevens is quoted as saying after a year of the bank's operation in 1974. The bank, he said, recorded a net profit of two hundred and one Leones, four hundred and ninety eight cent (Le 201,498) adding that the first provisional branch was opened in 1975. Every year since its establishment, he disclosed, the bank has been paying dividend to the government.

Dr. Richard Conteh hoisting the anniversary flag

 

Representing the National Commission for Privatization, Mrs. Josephine Ansumana said her Commission plays oversight role for the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank as mandated by the NCP Act of 2002. The Bank, she said, is one that provides effective banking transaction to its people and as such must be embraced by all as she puts it, "it is our property." Even though the bank has been going through difficulties, she said, they still stood the test of time in maintaining standards. On behalf of her Commission, she congratulated the Management and staff of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and called on all to be doing business with the bank for the development of Sierra Leone.

Cross section of the audience

 

Delivering the keynote address and officially hoisting the flag, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Dr. Richard Conteh who represented His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma also said the bank was the brain child of the late Dr. Siaka Steven whom he said, had his people at heart as they were going through difficulties in doing bank transactions. He said the SLCB represents a natural heritage of a country that has national characters adding that, the bank supports the pillar of economic diversification in the Agenda for Prosperity. According to him, there are 630 active accounts in the country barely representing 10% of the country's population, a very ridiculous figure he frowned at. DR. Conteh however appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to bank with SLCB as, according to him, there are great risks that go with keeping money at homes or other places other than the bank. He encouraged staff of SLCB to ensure that they make banking services accessible to all Sierra Leoneans as, according to him, they are just administering the affairs of the Bank which is solely owned by Sierra Leoneans. The SLCB, he went on, greatly contributes to the gross economic growth of the country, adding that, banks are very important in any given state in order to safeguard the country and its citizens' finances.

 

He therefore recommended that there be an electronic banking system; accessibility of tax incentives; the banking transaction time be extended beyond 3pm; establish customer call center for thorough customer education of banking system, and to establish branches in all provisional towns.

 

On behalf of government, he congratulated the management and staff of SLCB and pledged government's continued support to the bank as he officially hoisted the flag.

 

Prior to the program, a procession was held from Pademba Road and Lightfoot Boston Street to the bank headquarters.

 

A national essay competition was also launched for senior secondary school pupils on the topic the contribution of Sierra Leone Commercial Bank to national development and a whooping sum of eleven million leones was placed as prizes for winners - five million leones for first position, three million leones for second and a consolation prizes of one million each for the third fourth and fifth positions.

 

The program was climaxed with a press conference.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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