Liberia: Ecobank Liberia Board Chairman Describes Retired MD as ‘Most Impactful’



— As staff, well-wishers bid George Mensah-Asante farewell

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ecobank Liberia Limited, Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner, has described Mr. George Mensah-Asante as one of the ‘Most Impactful’ Managing Directors of Ecobank. 

Warner, who spoke on behalf of the Ecobank Board members, commended the astute retired Ghanaian banker for sustaining the momentum of growth within a six-year reign at the leading pan-African financial institution and the banking industry of Liberia, in spite of all the challenges.

Mensah-Asante has now handed the baton to Acting MD, David Kweku Thompson, who has been the Executive Director for Operations for the last Eight years.

In his six years at the helm of the Liberia outpost of the Pan-African bank, the retired MD saw the bank’s assets grow by 56% from US$204 million in December 2016 to US$318 million in December 2022.

In terms of profits, the bank has consistently posted strong profits since 2018.

Ecobank made a net profit of US$3.1 million in 2018, up from a loss of US$4.8 million in 2017.

As a sign that the bank had stabilized, Ecobank posted US$5.3 million net profit in 2019 before increasing to US$7.2 million in 2020.

In 2021, Ecobank recorded US$9.7 million in net profit and subsequently in 2022, the Bank reported a pre-tax profit of US$13million. 

The cost-to-income ratio (a measure of efficiency) moved downward from 88% in 2016 to 52% in 2022, a significant improvement in the Bank’s cost management. 

Also under his guidance with a dedicated team, Ecobank’s customer deposits grew by 49% to US$262 million in 2022, up from US$176 million when he took charge in 2017.

“So, as you go now, we celebrate you today because you have helped transform our bank and the banking industry of Liberia." He explained. "You have been the most impactful Managing Director of Ecobank Liberia Limited, and when we are writing our history, for which you and your family will be very proud.”

Warner spoke recently at an event organized by Ecobank Liberia Limited management to celebrate the astute banker, George Mensah-Asante, who has been the MD/CEO of the bank since January 2017 and officially retired from the bank at the end of April 2023.

The Ecobank Board Chairman further described Mensah-Asante as an MD, purpose-driven, moving on everything, managing costs, seeking to maximize our own profitability, but always from an observational standpoint and pursuing them.

Warner said George is also a very humble, God-fearing, sensitive, and consulting person, and he believed that the Ghanaian banker has made all the difference at Ecobank and the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA).

He said, “So, on behalf of the Board of Directors of Ecobank Liberia Limited, we are very delighted to be here to join the staff to pay respect and celebrate a man who has transformed our bank. I speak on behalf of all the directors of the bank. And I think what we are here for today is to complement what we have observed: George is a wonderful man and an excellent manager.”

Earlier on, while eulogizing the former Ecobank MD, the Ghanaian Ambassador to Liberia, Kwabena Okubi-Appiah, acknowledged George for his outstanding performance at Ecobank Liberia over the years and the banking industry of Liberia.

He noted that based on the commendations from professionals in the banking industry, we can proudly say that Mensah-Asante did not only make them proud but also fly the flag of Ghana high while performing his tour of duty in Liberia.

Similarly, the Director of Supervision and Regulation at the Central Bank of Liberia, Fonsia Donzo, praised George for his “extraordinary talent and management skills and for leaving the banking industry with his integrity intact.”

Donzo said as a regulator, the former MD took over Ecobank when the bank was short of the minimum capital requirement, and the Central Bank was very concerned about the going concern of the bank.  

“Today, I can proudly say that Ecobank is strong with a huge profit and capital. So, my advice to the acting management is to continue the legacy of George,” he added.

Donzo further described George, who is also the former president of the Liberia Bankers Association, as deserving of celebration because “he has proven himself to be a worthy banker, an authority in the banking industry, and an administrator who has traversed the banking and financial landscape in Liberia without blemish.”

In response, Mr. Mensah-Asante expressed gratitude to the Ecobank staff for the level of support rendered to him while serving as MD for the bank.

According to him, it was a privilege to have spent 30 years at Ecobank and the last six and a half years in Liberia.

“Together, we have made great strides in moving this affiliate from making losses to becoming the most profitable bank in Liberia. We have obtained and, in most cases, exceeded our target for key performance indicators. We are now a market leader by all standards,” Mensah-Asante told the Ecobank staff.

He further narrated that during his stay at the bank, it was a real honor for him to have played a role in the development and growth of Ecobank to bring economic growth to this government and integration to Africa.

Mensah-Asante said the Ecobank digital bank is the masterpiece of driving transformation for millions of Africans by serving them with innovation constantly involving products and services.

“I must say that I enjoy my time in Liberia. Even though I am leaving, I will always follow Ecobank Liberia’s progress with keen interest, but I am confident that it will continue to reach new heights,” he said.

Meanwhile, the colorful ceremony, which took place on Saturday May 13, 2023 in Sinkor, was witnessed by dignitaries and staff of Ecobank, including the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, Josephine Nkrumah; The South Africa Ambassador; The AFDB Country Head; and the wife of the retiree, Eva Mensah-Asante, among others. 

Several gifts were also presented to the retiree by his staff at the bank. He was also given a Chieftaincy Title (Chief Tamba Taylor) for his exceptional contribution to the development of the financial sector in Liberia.