President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has challenged the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) to continue do good, remain strong and help develop Liberia’s economy for the benefit its citizens.
At the bank’s 50th anniversary celebration dinner on Friday, November 27, LBDI honoured President Sirleaf and other former chairpersons and presidents of the bank for their years of dedicated service.
Others honored included John G. Bestman, Philip T. Bowen (late), Frank Stewart (late), James T. Philips (late), David Farhat, G. Alvin Jones, P. Clarence Parker (late), James S.P Cooper, and Emmanuel Shaw, amongst others.
In special remarks at the event, President Sirleaf, who is credited for leaving a legacy behind at the institution that ensured that the bank is only operated by Liberian financial experts said, “The LBDI has come a very long way in helping to lift the people of this country from its financial woes.”
Referring to the former CEOs and presidents of the bank as the building blocks, she continued: “I want to say to all them around this table that they indeed were the building blocks of our nation. They set the foundation that today we can all be proud of when we talk about LBDI.”
She acknowledged the good works the bank is doing, particularly in the areas of mortgage financing, supports to small and medium sized businesses and the rubber sector, sometimes with help from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
“We are proud of LBDI, especially her partnership with government, which was so helpful to our people when the deadly Ebola virus disease attacked the country,’’ she said.
President Sirleaf used the occasion to recognize the efforts of CBL Governor, Dr. J. Mills Jones, who she said has made a tremendous difference in the banking sector.
“I always told people that a nation that is proud of itself, always proud of its people… can stand the test of time. Therefore, I hope that each of us here tonight will recognize the efforts the LBDI has made,” added President Sirleaf.
She also encouraged the LBDI staff to continue working hard to match the country’s aspiration to achieve her development goals so that all can one day tell a success story.
The Liberian leader also recognized the LBDI’s support to the rubber industry through the rubber planters’ association as well as its financial support to other Liberian own businesses, including the Kumba Bendu & Son business entity in the area of “Made in Liberia” toiletry production.
She indicated that although she was honored along with almost all of the bank’s former CEOs and presidents, some of those who served at the entity, including the late Frank Stewart and the late Clarence Parker, actually laid the foundation for the LBDI’s existence, long before she and all those honored and certificated ascended to the helm of the institution’s authority.
Also speaking, LBDI President and Chief Executive Officer, John B. S. Davies III, said over the years, LBDI has distinguished itself in the sector and has maintained an enviable record of commitment to customer service, prudent financial management, sound corporate governance, operational transparency and accountability.
Reading the history of the bank at the ceremony, earlier, Mr. Davies, in an introductory message commended the bank’s shareholders, board of directors, customers, depositors, as well as other beneficiaries for standing with them throughout the course of the five decades of the bank’s uninterrupted services to the nation.
“We thank you for standing with us at 50,” Davies noted at the gathering, adding, “We are happy to state that the journey of our existence which started with the Government of Liberia and the International Finance Corporation and consummated with an Act of the
Legislature in 1961, has had an important impact on the development of our banking industry.”
Mr. Davies said that the bank has renewed its zeal to work with partners and the government to achieve the goals of the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) and Development.
He said the bank succeeded under challenging situations that some of her competitors couldn’t.
“Therefore, we can now look and glorify the Almighty God for sustaining us during those difficult moments,’’ he added.
For his part, Chairman of the LBDI Board of Directors and Minister of Finance, Development and Planning, Amara M. Konneh, expressed gratitude to the depositors, shareholders, institutional partners and the general public for helping the bank to keep its doors open.
“As we celebrate today, you have our commitment that we will continue to strategically focus on providing the needed financial services to engender development. We will continue to collaborate with the government and other partners in meeting our corporate mandate,’’ he said.