By Amin Kef Sesay
The Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Sierra Leone, Adekunle Adebiyi, recently stated that the Bank is still operating at it in highest level and they are poised to change the landscape of banking in Sierra Leone after they started operations in 2002.
Mr Adebiyi said that when they started operations the concept of banking was just ordinary and it was GTB that brought class in dress code, started the marketing aspect of banking and opened up various types of banking to cater for every sector of people in the economy.
“GTBank radically transformed the entire banking landscape and brought it in line with the fast-paced, customer-centric, technology-driven banking of modern transactions. The suite of innovative financial products and services that are designed to meet the divergent needs of the people, which has helped to expand the economy is going.”
He said the vast expansion in the branch networks has helped some of the under-served and unbanked population to be reached.
Mr Adebiyi averred that there is also an improvement in efficiency, triggered by the introduction of more advanced technology and increased competition among industry players. The performance of GTBank in the country market has transformed it into a household name in the corporate and consumer banking industry.
“With consistent delivery of efficient services, innovation and year-on-year growth, the bank has been among the most profitable and best run in the country over the past 15 years. This performance has been in the face of challenging market conditions and fierce competition in the industry.”
In recent times the Managing Director says even though they have been having challenges that have been hyped by the media, they are still making sure that they do everything possible to adhere to the Bank of Sierra Leone rules and regulations and they have made sure that their customers are well treated with respect to make sure there is no iota of doubt in the bank.
“We are very strong financially and because of our international partners and our sister GTBanks in other countries it has has given us that impetus to continue to lead in Sierra Leone with passionate staff coupled with quality services delivery at all of our branches in the country.”
Mr Adebiyi called on all Sierra Leoneans to look at the banking industry especially GTB as a development partner that is here to help grow the economy of the country by making sure the banking transactions are legitimate, employing Sierra Leoneans and protecting Sierra Leoneans assets and cash.
He said if the banking industry collapses it will have a telling effect in the country’s financial and economic system and can’t even create serious crisis in the country. Mr Adebiyi called on all to help build the financial system and not destroy it. “Let us work together and build the country’s economy as this is a challenging time for us all. The banks in the country are doing their best at this time when businesses have closed. We have kept all our workers, continue to pay them and make sure all our customers continue to get their monies when they need it.”
He said GTBank (SL) has achieved market dominance in both the upper corporate banking and middle commercial banking segments of the market, and they intend to achieve the same in the lower retail and SME segments of the market with a view to achieving financial inclusion objectives, the accumulation of social capital and mobilising cheap deposit liabilities.
“As we have launched our five years plan, which was based around the expansion of our retail footprint across the country, the strategy had involved leveraging partnerships with Fintech companies to provide customers with innovative digital products designed to meet diverse needs and are delivered in a cost-effective manner. Through these partnerships, we have set the pace in digital banking in Sierra Leone.’
Mr Adebiyi averred that this has rollout several products including SMS banking, the first MasterCard debit card denominated in the local currency and internet banking.
“The bank was also instrumental in the deployment of ATMs across the country and the installation of Point of Sale (POS) terminals at various merchant locations to facilitate cashless transactions within the economy.”
Mr Adebiyi called on all Sierra Leoneans to continue to stay safe by following all the instructions given by the health workers to wash hands regularly, observe social distancing as he said they are very fussy about those in their banking transactions and keen on wearing masks stating that all should be a must to all customers entering their branches.
“Corona is real and we must stop the denial and do what is right to save our lives, that of our families and friends as well as those that are special around us in public places. We cannot afford to be lackadaisical in protecting our lives, but to be very careful, as we traverse though inconveniences to stay safe. It is better for us to wear masks at all times than to be locked up.”