The Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mr. Milton A. Weeks has disclosed the CBL commitment to financial inclusion across the country.
Speaking at the opening of the inauguration of the Tappita Rural Community Financial Institution/TRCFI on July 16, 2016 in Tappita City, he said one of the goals of the CBL is to provide people the opportunity to have access to financial services in their communities at a reduced cost.
“In order meet up with this goal”, he said, “the Board of Governors and Management of the Central Bank agreed with the shareholders of the TRCFI that a Community Bank should be established in Tappita to enable the people of Tappita District and its environs to have financial services.”
“This financial institution is the first banking institution in this part of Nimba County and is owned by the citizens and residents of this county, who have purchased shares in the institution,” he added.
Governor Weeks commended the people of Tappita for the great effort they showed through the purchase of shares to make the opening of the institution possible.
He noted that, although the CBL requires that the community should provide US$ 25,000, representing 50% of the amount required establishing a Rural Community Financial Institution, while the CBL will provide the other 50 %( US$ 25, 000) so as to reach the US$ 50,000 total requirement, the citizens of Tappita were able to raise over US$ 63,000 which is more than 100% of the required capital.
He applauded the citizens, especially those living in the Diaspora who, knowing the plight of their brothers and sisters in the community not having access to financial services, generously purchased shares amounting to over US$ 30,000.
The Executive Governor also disclosed that the TRCFI will provide services such as; savings mobilization, checking accounts, loans, directs deposits, which will be helpful to civil servants as well as money transfer services including MoneyGram and Western Union.
“Credit unions and Village Saving Loan Associations/VSLAs who are beneficiaries of the Central Bank credit facilities can also make repayment through the Tappita Rural Community financial Institution or TRCFI,” he said.
The TRCFI is the 11th RCFI in 8 counties and was rated the first, after two months of operation, in terms of money transfer transaction, according to the CBL.
There are also two other RCFIs in Nimba County, including Karnplay and Saniquellie, something Governor Weeks praised the citizens of Nimba of having three of the RCFI facilities.
“This is an indication of how serious this county is about [finance], because other areas have expressed an interest in having a community bank established but could not raise the required amount to make it possible,” Governor Weeks added.
Tappita is about 100 kilometers from Ganta, which has five commercial banks, including Ecobank, Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, United Bank for Africa, Guaranty Trust Bank and GN Bank. It also connects the southeastern part of Liberia, Grand Bassa and Rivercess County.
The citizens and those in the civil service had found it very difficult to do financial transactions, due to the distance and the transportation cost attached.
On behalf of the citizens of Tappita, City Mayor Sarah Mendoabor and District Commissioner Samuel N. Wehyee expressed happiness for the opening of the community bank and thanked the CBL for enabling the community to have access to banking facilities.
Deepah Gbar Karneh, District Education Officer of Tappita District, said “this is a relief to the teachers, because it will alleviate travel to Ganta to get their checks cashed or do banking transactions.”
“Sometimes, our teachers go to Ganta and spend weeks running behind their salaries, leaving the classes empty, but now everything will be done here,” he said.
However, Senator Thomas Grupee has admonished the citizens of the district to be patriotic and take good care of the bank and avoid banditry, which will hinder the growth of the bank.
However, it was made clear that the bank is solely owned by the community, not CBL or Afriland Bank, who are providing the technical assistance to the institution.
The TRCFI, which is also known as “MC2 Tappita Community” has a board chaired by one Mr. Sandei Cooper, a seasoned banker, who worked as one of the governors of the Central Bank of Liberia. Mr. Harry Yuan was also in attendance, along with former FDA boss Moses Wogbeh.