BY Abubakarr Harding
This medium was reliably informed that the Rokel Commercial Bank has paid over 17 Billion Leones to its majority (Government of Sierra Leone) and minority shareholders as dividend following a pre-tax profit of Le88.7 Billion recorded for 2021. The dividend represents a significant increase from Le10.6 Billion reported for 2020 financial statements.
Despite a harsh business climate, occasioned by the aftershocks of the COVID -19 pandemic that shattered economies around the Globe, the Rokel Commercial Bank’s 2021 profit constitutes a 6 percent increase from its Le 83.6 Billion profit of 2020.
The bank held its 49th Annual General Meeting past Thursday at the New City Hall where the Chairman of RCBank’s Board of Directors, Buffy Bailor explained that the bank had worked hard to sustain the gains made in previous years by opening a new branch at Juba to serve Juba, Goderich and Peninsular communities.
Buffy Bailor also revealed; “In line with its strategic plan to enhance financial inclusion, the Bank made significant progress towards expanding its services in the East End of Freetown and Tongo Fields in the Eastern Province….During the period under review, the deposit base of the Bank increased by Nineteen (19%) percent to SLE.1.78Bn from SLE1.5bn in 2020. The growth recorded under this segment was due to the collective efforts of the staff through support from Management…”
Last year, Rokel Commercial Bank overhauled its technology infrastructure with a new Core Banking System and the digitization efforts paid off with the elimination of paper-based transactions, reduced long queues, enhanced turnaround time, faster service and staff productivity.
Earlier, RCbank Managing Director, Amb Dr Walton Ekundayo Gilpin who has been largely credited for the bank’s phenomenal transformation made an impressive revelation of the bank’s prudential statistics stating that the bank’s positive retained earnings increasing from Le44 billion in 2020 to over Le77Billion in 2021. With a 56.80% capital adequacy ratio and a loan deposit ratio of 27.36%, Gilpin said the bank is comfortably in line with the Bank of Sierra Leone’s minimum loan deposit threshold.
He furthered; “We have significantly increased our lending portfolio and new Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) programme is not only changing lives of many Sierra Leoneans in the informal sector, it has also generated good returns for the Bank due to its phenomenal loan repayment rate…..as a bank, our principal aim is to make profit . However, it is equally gratifying that the bank serve as an engine of growth in Sierra Leone…”
The high point of the AGM was when one of the shareholders stood up to present a wooden plaque to the Managing Director in recognition of what he described as his “outstanding performance” in transforming a bank that was only known for loss making. A loud applause in the room apparently points to the trust and confidence the bank’s management enjoys from its shareholders.