The Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) has celebrated its 49th Anniversary in Monrovia paying tributes to several staff, both senior and middle levels, for their dedication and long-term services to the Bank. Nine staff including the Bank’s president and chief executive officer (CEO), Mr. John B. S. Davies, III, was awarded honors for 15 years of service for the Bank.
Two other staff members including Mr. Clarence W. Bai and Mr. Samuel Gborzoe were honored for 25 years of service and 20 years of service, respectively, while three staff members were honored for 10 years of service to the Bank.
The Bank’s Management had ‘a low-key’ ceremony at a local hotel on Monday, November 24 where the CEO announced huge growth in assets from US$159 million in 2013 to an excess US$220 million in 2014.
He declared equity position also grew from US$12.5 million in 2013 to over US$27 million in 2014. This growth took place in the face of the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the country which has led the economy slumping from its projected 5.9 percent to (-) 0.4 percent. Ebola being a risk for which the banks hadn’t planned, most of the players in the banking industry say they are sacrificing profitability for liquidity. This is chiefly because the virus outbreak has created off-budget expenses on financial institutions that spend money daily to put anti-Ebola measures into effect.
Mr. Davies attributed the sustenance of the growth to God and to the dedicated staff who he praised for keeping LBDI liquid, sound and vibrant. Davies also attributed the growth to the migration to the international financial reporting standards required by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for all banks to migrate.
He paid a special tribute to the staff: “I wonder where LBDI would have been during this crisis without our strong, dynamic and committed staff. We believe that the strategic crossroad we have reached as a financial institution could not have been attainable without you,” he told the staff.
Mr. Davies emphasized the gratefulness to the customers for staying with LBDI despite the economic challenge.
He also extended special appreciation to the Board of Trustees and the Management for the support and pledged the Bank’s commitment to going forward during difficult and good times.
“Our foundation remains stronger than ever before despite the odds and we are prepared to take up the challenge and remain a major player in the industry,” said Mr. Davies amidst thunderous applause.
LBDI is one of the top two banks in Liberia and the CEO assures that the Bank will continue to maintain its market share believed to be in the tune of about 40 percent.
“We have a network of staff that has performed splendidly despite the low ebb at which the program is being held,” he stated.
Also speaking at the ceremony, LBDI Board Chair and Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Mr. Amara M. Konneh, thanked the employees for holding together and keeping the Bank up during the Ebola crisis.
“I stand here today to thank you for holding the Bank together and ensuring that customers get their money during the ongoing Ebola crisis,” said Chairman Konneh. “Had John not been the CEO of LBDI….probably I would have been…,” Konneh stated.
“Our challenge is to continue to remain focus knowing very well that the Ebola crisis is not finished yet.” The Liberian Finance Minister noted that it is about time for government to spend responsibly and close all of the loopholes.
Mr. Konneh reiterated his message that the government will increase spending in the agriculture and other sectors to deal with the Ebola outbreak and singled out LBDI as one of the banks that most of the funds will be channeled through.
“LBDI will be a major vehicle for government funding to the agriculture and other sectors and this, in our minds, will help us to regain the 5 percentage point growth projection that we have lost to the Ebola crisis,” the LBDI Board Chair added.
Minister Konneh explained how the financial soundness of the banking industry has given hope as Minister of Finance during the Ebola crisis and reiterated his thanks and appreciation to the honorees the services they’re rendering to the Liberian people through the Bank. The rest of the honorees that have served the Bank for 15 years are: William Jackson, Olivia Davies, Kou Giddings, Eugene McClain, Fatu Effiong, Onike Bedell, Reginald Goll and Aaron Kollie.
Those who received honors for 10 years of service are: Doretha Yarsiah, Frances Williams and Akwenah Nyeamene.
Speaking on behalf of the honorees, LBDI’s vice president for Buchanan Branch, Mr. Clarence W. Bai, thanked the Management for the recognition and pledged the honorees’ commitment to remain dedicated to the Bank and serve the Liberian people through LBDI.
“I must be very frank…serving a bank like LBDI for 25 years is not easy,” said Mr. Bai as he commended the Bank’s Management for celebrating the 49th Anniversary of LBDI.
He also appealed to the Management to conduct regular training for its entire staff including the vice presidents at branches. Mr. Bai also called for salary increment for staff noting that it would further motivate employees to go the extra miles in serving and protecting the Bank.