Mr. Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, the President of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), says Dr. Mills Jones has bridged the relationship gap that existed between banking institutions and Liberian owned businesses.
Mr. Kemayah explained, “Liberian owned businesses felt marginalized by banking institutions when it came to lending.”
“They found it difficult to cope with the requirements and stringent procedures instituted by banks before they could qualify for debt financing,” he continued, “Since Dr. Jones took over as Executive Governor of CBL, there have been remarkable achievements made in narrowing the relationship gap between banking institutions and Liberian owned businesses,” said Mr. Kemayah.
The LIBA president made the assertion on December 5, while delivering a concept paper during a one-day symposium in observance of the Liberia Bankers Week, in Monrovia.
The paper focused on the suggestions and contributions of Liberia Bankers Association (LBA), addressing the challenges faced and opportunities to be had by the financial sector through the enhancement of the Credit Union in Liberia.
The symposium was under the theme: “Ensuing Stability of Liberia’s Financial Sector through Credit Culture Enhancement.”
According to him, the Liberian owned businesses were finding it unattractive doing business with banking institutions in the county.
“Liberian businesses found it more convenient to patronize susus, clubs, and other informal savings and loans schemes. They felt these were guaranteed sources of savings and secured ways of meeting their emergency financial needs without stress,” the LIBA executive disclosed.
Explaining about LIBA’s strategic plan, Mr. Kemayah said, “Under our leadership LIBA has formulated a strategic plan for making the association more relevant in the country, and taking its rightful place in the rebuilding of our domestic economy. That is why we have agreed to desist from patronizing informal savings and loan bodies”
“Conscious efforts continue to be made by the association to change the status quo,” he explained.
He continued, “Now our members have developed a positive culture of savings and credit that is centered on the need to develop active business relationships with banking institutions.”
He continues, “While initiatives were being undertaken to achieve this objective, we were engaged with the Central Bank of Liberia to consider the plight of Liberian owned businesses and reduce the restricted access to credit.”
“In recognizing LIBA’s efforts and the enormous challenges facing Liberian owned businesses,” Kemayah disclosed “CBL took the bold step, in keeping with its mandate and policies, of making a placement of five million US Dollars at three commercial banks; Ecobank, International Bank, and First International Bank, for credit to our association members.”
“All of which was geared towards stimulating growth and the expansion of Liberian businesses in the economy.”
“LIBA continues to build the capacity of its members through business incubation services and other forms of short term training at a national and international level, conducting pre-screening of initial candidates, due diligence, and recommending them to the banks for credit/loan.”
He was quick to point out that the banks then employ their normal procedures to determine who qualifies for the loan or credit.
“We are quite aware of the challenges facing the enhancement of credit culture in Liberia,” Mr. Kemayah admitted.