SLCB Is The Pride Of Sierra Leone Commercial Banking
With mandates to achieve financial inclusion across West Africa by 2020, and with the Central Bank based on IMF and World Bank recommendations to expand financial inclusivity in diversifying economic activities, digitalized banking services is the future that the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank in its continued relentless rebranding, staying on top of the competition and quest for customer satisfaction has embraced. The innovations include the introduction of twice-monthly Saturday banking. (Photo: SLCB MD, Abdulai Fidelis Turay)
At the cutting edge of technological innovation, SLCB has over the past five years seamlessly adopted policies to meet the requirements of the next generation banking customer by examining the challenges and successes of financial inclusion. As such, SLCB has efficiently incorporated mobile money platforms, automated banking and tailored credit facilities for a dynamic commercial banking dynamic market to best achieve financial inclusion and sustained banking growth.
As such, SLCB has become the epicenter of branchless banking financial innovations in Sierra Leone, thus effectively attracting tens of thousands of new previously un-banked customers, interestingly from the grassroots.
The financial innovations covered by SLCB are the branchless banking models, which represent a departure from the traditional branch-based banking. More specifically, the financial innovations covered are: mobile banking, agency banking, internet banking and automated teller machines.
The results shown in the Bank’s annual balance sheet prove that financial innovations significantly contribute to bank financial performance, and that firm-specific factors are more important in determining the firm’s current financial performance than industry factors.
Last year’s returns provide concrete evidence that the recent financial innovations adopted by a forward looking SLCB management and staffs have generated good results for the shareholder – the Government of Sierra Leone. A very laudable achievement for a bank which some years back was deeply in the red and in need of a financial bailout.
Admirably, SLCB under recent management has stayed true and loyal to its vision and mission which is: to be the market leader in financial services with a mission that is enduring and fits its medium and long term strategic focus and direction which remain unchanged of being a leading financial services provider delivering value to all stakeholders.
As such, 2017 and 2018 were remarkable years with transformative results of pre-tax profits of Le79.5 billion, is equivalent to USD $10.5million, as at end December 2017. This represented a growth of 122% from 2016. SLCB proudly announced: “We achieved such historic profits and sustained our local market dominance in spite of the fierce competition and low economic outturn in a pre-election year”.
SLCB’s relentless effort to sustain market leadership earned the Bank ‘Best Financial Institution of the Year 2017’ by AWOL (All Works of Life). The financial results for 2017 and the AWOL award were testimonials of the Bank’s leading domestic brand, unique customer engagement model and deep market understanding as the People’s Bank.
Along the way, SLCB achieved industry leadership in the following:
– Customer deposit of Le1.1 Trillion; the first bank to hit one Trillion in deposits
– Recorded the highest profits in the industry i.e. 79.5 Billion
– Balance sheet size of Le1.25 Trillion; the first and highest in the industry
Remaining on track in aligning business performance with key strategic priorities to reposition the Bank as the dominant brand, over the period, SLCB embarked on an accelerated investment in digital transformation and deployed state-of-the art technologies and communications infrastructure to deliver its digital enterprise programme which started in 2016.
Consequently, the result of SLCB’s phenomenal leap in capital and customer base are the combination of its growing brand identity, a well-diversified customer deposit base, adoption of a conservative credit risk posture and the scale of premium service delivery from the new ICT infrastructure, thereby building the infrastructure for sustainable growth and now poised to increase shareholders’ value year on year.
With SLCB having taken banking to the doorsteps of the unbanked with its community banking kiosks and mobile banking services, the Bank is in the process transitioning the Bank into a digital bank by deploying capabilities to work at home and anywhere, pursue paperless environment and pushing transaction origination at the fingers of the customer; reinforce customer centricity: intensifying client care and digital experience, growing contactless banking for retail customers and rolling out branchless banking to service the unbanked and mass market, leveraging technology for growth and uniqueness: supporting 24/7 banking capabilities and maintaining a resilient, robust and secure ICT infrastructure.
At this cutting edge of banking innovation, SLCB customers can now access their accounts using our Internet Banking service. This anywhere, anytime service puts the customer in control of his/her money, no matter where you are, with just the click of a mouse. With this service you can:
- Check balances
- View transaction information
- View statements up to two months old
- Transfer money between your own accounts
- Purchase Bearer Bonds and Treasury Bills
- Order Cheque book for collection at counter
- Order extended statement of account for collection at counter
- Download forms
- Effect Standing Orders
- Stop Payment of Cheques
- Pay utility bills
- Pay advance salary, etc.
At the helm of this ongoing revolution at the SLCB is the new Managing Director who was appointed by President Bio in 2018, Abdulai Fidelis Turay. With a Bachelor and Masters in Economics and Finance and a string of professional development training courses and seminars in the banking industry at institutions in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Zambia, Cote D’Ivoire, and in country to his credit, Fidelis started his banking career after leaving university with the Meridien BIAO SL Ltd in 1990 and rose to the position of Assistant Manager – Credit and Marketing/Credit and Recoveries Department.
Until his appointment, he was head of Union Trust Bank’s Credit Administration & Risk Management, a portfolio he held for several years. With varied experience heading banking operations, credit administration, marketing and business development, administration and personnel, internal control, project financing, risk management and corporate banking, besides special duties, he led the charge for setting up UTB’s branches in the provinces and greater Freetown, and is perceived to be an institution builder.
It is estimated that his wealth of knowledge, track record and footprints will build on the SLBC’s current team spirit to zealously roll-out the planned innovation to a next generation banking in Sierra Leone.
By Ibrahim Babatunde Sesay
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