In its drive to bring banking closer to their numerous clients, the German owned bank Procredit on Friday officially opened its third branch at Lumley, opposite the Police Station.
The Deputy Bank Governor of the Central Bank, Mohamed Fofana in his statement at the occasion recalled August 4th last year when Procredit was issued a license to operate in Sierra Leone.
“Since that time the bank has shown its desire to expand its branch network in Sierra Leone. In December 2007 just four months after its [Procredit] first operations, the Bank of Sierra Leone granted an approval for Procredit to open it first branch at Kissy, at the east end of Freetown. Little over a year after it started its [Procredit] operations we are here again to open another branch in the West-end of Freetown,” he disclosed.
Mr Fofana revealed that “Procredit Bank has already secured a license from the Bank of Sierra Leone to open yet another branch at Waterloo; this means that Procredit is going to have in a very short period of time a fourth branch in Waterloo,” he emphasized.
“Going to Waterloo indicates that Procredit is on its way to the provinces and for us it is even a bigger challenge and we welcome this because we know very soon that they will be in the provinces,” he underscored.
Giving a statistical breakdown of the bank, he disclosed that “the bank’s total assets as at June 30th 2008 stood at Le 32.3 billion, this is about 2.7% of the industry’s total financial resources.”
“We have at the moment about eleven banks and a small bank which came one year ago has 2.7% of the total industry as financial resources. During this short period of operations Procredit Bank has mobilized resources totaling Le 6 billion from a total number of ten thousand account holders. It has also extended credit of about 12 billion to over 2,443 customers. Indeed this is a very remarkable achievement in one year,” stressed the Deputy Bank Governor.
Reechoing what previous speakers underscored, the Bank’s Lumley branch manager, Mr Sammie Bureh, explained that banking services is only available to the upper class and to a minute sector of the business class.
He noted that about “90% of our nation is deprived; which means that of all the industry’s performance, only 4% or a total of 250,000 accounts is opened for our people in the country.”
He stressed that this means that “a great deal is deprived of the value development ladder that people used in other countries. It is however, interesting to know that most of the developed nations in Europe and America used small and medium enterprises for their development,” he said.
He revealed that in Africa and Sierra Leone in particular banking service providers have kicked the ladder for development. “In our country this ladder is what we want to place upright so that our people can benefit from banking services,” Mr Bureh said.
“Our mission is to make banking services available to the ordinary people. We are going to be your neighborhood bank,” he disclosed.
The branch manager underscored, “we are going to visit you in your business places we are going to visit you to know what you want and provide these services to you,” he said. The General Manager Thomas Lenzien in his welcome address earlier said that within a very short time “we have opened three branches, so far we have conquered the market and we intend doing more in the future – opening three branches in one year of operations this is quite an achievement,” he said.