---Sworns in new leadership
Members of the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA) have lauded its former president, Mr. George Mensah-Asante, for his stellar leadership role played over the years.
The leadership made the remarks last Friday at a send-off and installation gathering of new corps officers for Mr. Mensah-Asante to bid him farewell to serve the LBA.
He served as president of the LBA for almost two consecutive years (2022–2023) and will officially be retiring from the Liberian banking sector.
The program, organized by the LBA, coincided with the gowning of its president Mensah-Asante in a traditional African attire to serve as a symbol of Liberian heritage. He was also given a traditional Lofian name, Tarnue.
According to the LBA members, Mensah-Asante contributed a lot to the growth and development of the association as well as the banking sector of Liberia.
The team eulogised the contributions of the outgoing president of the LBA in advancing the association’s performance over the years he served.
However, in his farewell speech, the LBA outgoing president said that he was very pleased to report the success they have made together, especially in the general payment system of Liberia and the implementation of the financial inclusion strategy launched in December of 2019.
"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 said.
The outgoing LBA president declared that, though he may no longer be with the LBA, 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 banks in Nigeria, etc.
Mensah-Asante further seized the opportunity or moment to
ask members of the LBA to continue collaborating with relevant state institutions, including their regulators, the central bank, to explore ways of improving the important role of financial intermediation as well as the 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.
In response, Olalekan Balogun, the newly inducted president of the LBA and managing director of Global Bank Liberia Limited, commended his predecessor and members of the association for electing him president to lead 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,” he said.
According to him, the job has been done already as far he is concerned.
Balogun revealed that there are a lot of challenges in the Liberian banking sector and the economy, especially advocacy. However, as a bankers association, one thing they need to do is undertake advocacy, which is paramount to the industry in Liberia.
The current LBA president, who also served as vice president of the association, reiterated that, as the new president of the association, his wish now is to see commercial banks compete with other banks and, as a whole, compete with what others are doing.
He added, "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."
Balogun further assures members of the association and in the banking sector that they will see a lot of changes under his regime.
Those inducted to steer the affairs of the association are: Olalekan Balogun, president; Mr. Henry F. Saamoi, managing director of IB, vice president; and Mr. Robert Nkous, managing director of Afriland First Bank.
The farewell ceremony was graced by a host of high profile dignitaries, especially from the financial sector. Some of those present at the ceremony were 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.