Vice President Solomon Berewa yesterday urged the First International Bank (FIB) to make greater strides in affording Sierra Leoneans quality banking services, while ensuring that customers out of Freetown especially in the provinces enjoy the benefits of banking.
Formally launching the new branch at ECOWAS Street in Freetown, he noted that since it started operations, “FIB has demonstrated a welcome determination to identify and promote the resolve of government to take banking services to all nooks and corner of our dear country.”
The Vice President emphasized that the opening of the new branch had also “underlined the fact that the impact of Government’s effort to create an enabling environment for our development partners through private sector investment is yielding the desired results.”
He maintained further that, “as our economy continues to grow it must be accompanied by private sector investment as we are poised to encourage a private sector driven economy.”
Vice President Berewa congratulated the board, management and staff as they celebrated five years of banking operations in the country.
He also lauded them for sustaining and consolidating the growth of the bank by opening more branches.
“This, indeed, underlines the fact that you have confidence in the economy and government will continue to support all genuine investments like yours as you are contributing meaningfully to the socio-economic development of our country,” he opined.
The banking industry, the Vice President maintained, “is one of the businesses which has been growing steadily in terms of [the] number of banks and total assets.”
He stressed that it was his considered view that rapid economic development could only be achieved when there were concerted efforts by an organized private sector to take advantage of the clement investment climate in the country to play a pivotal role in all sector of the economy.
Welcoming guests at the ceremony, board chairman, veteran banker Christian Smith said, “First International Bank (SL) Ltd has had an impressive history since it was licensed as a bank in Sierra Leone on 31st May 2002 and almost immediately on the 12th of June that same year we commenced operations in a modest way.”
The board chairman went on, “but with the determination to ‘make the difference’ in the banking and financial services delivery in the country, it is evident that within five years we have kept our word.”
He told the gathering that at various times, “we have shown that we care and that we are grateful to the community and country by assisting in one of the key areas of a progressive society i.e. the education sector.”
Chairman Smith emphasized that they launched the FIB scholarship bonanza as a way of helping the education sector for the empowerment of the youth for the future.
He noted that, “we believe that the future of this country depends on a well educated and well trained work force.”
Other speakers were the Bank Governor, James D. Rogers, who gave an overview of the bank’s activities in sector of the economy, while Chief Executive Officer, Chris Uchendu moved the vote of thanks.