27 May 2009

Gambia: Another New Bank Inaugurated

The governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Bamba Saho, yesterday inaugurated a new Bank, Prime Bank (Gambia Ltd). A subsidiary of the Lebanese Canadian Bank, Prime Bank is the latest entrant into the increasingly competitive financial sector of The Gambia.

Tuesday's inauguration marked the commencement of the Bank's official operations in the country, located along Kairaba Avenue. The coming of Prime Bank brings to 12 such institutions currently operating in the country. Governor Bamba Saho, in his inaugural statements, expressed optimism that Prime Bank is ready to invest in The Gambia, and that it is ready to contribute to the well-being and satisfaction of its customer base in the country. He observed that even though The Gambia's domestic financial system is sound and vibrant, there is still room for improvement. The financial system of any bank, he added, is always critical to its functions.

Governor Saho told officials of Prime Bank that in order to carry out their roles efficiently, they must try to gain public confidence, maintaining that the mandate of the Central Bank of The Gambia is to implement banking policies, through the central government. He then called on customers to try to live up to standard by respecting the details of banking contracts. He thanked officials of the new bank for choosing The Gambia as their country of investment, urging them to be law-abiding.

Georges E Zard Abdou Jaoude, chairman and general manager of the Lebanese Canadian Bank, said the presence of Prime Bank in The Gambia has not come by coincidence, rather it is a result of the confidence they have in the economic future of the country. The Lebanese Canadian Bank, he said, is among the top ten Lebanese banks, whose performance has surpassed its peers in the past years. Jaoude further told the gathering that the launching of Prime Bank was born out of the firm decision that they took to inaugurate the bank in the country within a year, after several visits to The Gambia, last year.

"The Lebabnese Canadian Bank operated from 1968 through 1988 as a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada Middle East," he explained. He added that through commitment and hard work, the board and management of the bank had managed so well that the Lebanese Canadian Bank is now among the top ten league banks in Lebanon, known as the Alpha Group, and that it is currently having a network of about 35 branches in Lebanon with about 600 permanent employees.

Jaoude then highlighted that it is LCB's strategy to continue to increase its footprint in Africa, after the successful launch of Prime Bank Gambia. He disclosed that work is in progress to set up a subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Jaoude finally thanked the president of the Republic, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, and his entire government for the support rendered to them from the conceptualisation of the bank to its official opening. He also thanked the Central Bank of The Gambia for its invaluable support, guidance and insurance of the full banking license to Prime Bank.

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