LBA inducts new corps of officers
By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
Members of the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA) have inducted in office new corps of officials to steer the affairs of the Association.
Those inducted are Mr. Olalekan Balogun (Global Bank Liberia Limited) President; Mr. Henry F. Saamoi (International Bank) Vice President; and Mr. Robert Nkous (Afriland First Bank) Secretary-General.
Newly installed President Olalekan Balogun reiterates his commitment to improving welfare of the Association.
Mr. Balogun expresses confidence in seeing commercial banks in the country compete with other banking institutions.
He commends his predecessor and members of the Association for electing him president to take the LBA to the next level.
“The former president did a very good job and now it is left with me to fill that gap. If we don’t make any impact then that means we are retrogressing,” Mr. Balogun notes.
According to him, the job has been done already as far he is concerned.
Mr. Balogun acknowledges there are challenges facing the banking sector of Liberia, pointing to the economy and advocacy as key to those hurdles, but emphasizes a need for the Association to engage in advocacy as paramount to the industry in Liberia.
“I have the opportunity of working in three geographical locations, including Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana. So, if I don’t bring in new innovation in how we do things in Liberia, then I will fail you while in this position”, he says.
He assures members of the Association and the banking sector that they will see a lot of changes under his regime.
Meanwhile, members of the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA) have honored and bided farewell to the former president and managing director, George Mensah-Asante, for his contributions to the growth and development of the Association and the banking sector in the country.
Mr. Mensah-Asante served as president of the LBA for almost two consecutive years (2022–2023) and will officially be retiring from the Liberian banking sector.
In his farewell speech held in Monrovia recently, he recounted successes under his administration especially, in the general payment system of Liberia and implementation of the financial inclusion strategy launched in December 2019.
He challenged the newly inducted President, Mr. Olalekan Balogun, to do his best in improving the sector.
“As I handed over the mantle of authority to a colleague, Mr. Olalekan Balogun, an experienced banker in marketing, who has worked both in Liberia and Ghana, I look forward to him taking the LBA to the next level,” he says.
The former LBA president continued that though he may no longer be with the Association, his wish is to see commercial banks in Liberia compete with other banks to ensure that they can match with commercial banks in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
“We are in a country where cash is very essential in our daily lives, as it remains the most widely used means of payment (both LRD and USD). Most account holders at commercial banks pay utility bills, school fees, and other general financial transactions in cash.
We all know the benefits of digital payments, so I am urging all banks to consider deploying the necessary digital payment platforms to assist their customers”, Mr. Mensah-Asante says.
He also urges members of the LBA to continue to work collaboratively with relevant state institutions, including the central bank, to explore ways of improving the important role of financial intermediation as well as introduction of modern forms of making payments and sending remittances within Liberia and across the world.
He also used the occasion to urge all managing directors of commercial banks in Liberia to have remarkable results in their respective institutions.
The ceremony, organized by the LBA, coincided with the gowning of Mr. Mensah-Asante in traditional African attire as a symbol of the Liberian heritage followed by a traditional name from Lofa County called “Tarnue.”
The program was graced by Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., Deputy Finance Minister Samora Wolokollie, Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor, J. Aloysious Tarlue, Jr., ably represented by his Senior Advisor for Multilateral, Michael B. Ogun; Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner, Board Chairman of Ecobank; Ghanaian Ambassador to Liberia, Kwabena Okubi-Appiah; and a host of Ecobank staff and friends, among others.