Twelve years of work and performance in every sector has got its flunkies and achievers, and it takes strains and in-depth probe to cast the wedge that separates the two. For The Analyst, it has been a tough undertaking picking the best performing individuals and institutions, which is why the publication of finalists and victors in the lineup continues since the 31 of December 2012. It was just last night that the editorial team settled down on the Best Bank of the Year out of scores of competitors.
In post conflict Liberia, not too many people are fond of commercial banks, with some considering the banking sector of the country haven of fraudsters. But as the economic improves and many a banking institutions registers for service, high-tech performance continues to woo several an untold number of citizens.
Thus, negative perceptions and huge challenges facing the banking industry are petering out; thanks to the superb service delivery tactics of some nine commercial banks operating in the Country. Having critically examined the output of these institutions, The Analyst's majority vote put Ecobank Liberia, a member of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, as the year's best performing commercial bank.
Random interviews conducted with over 200 depositors of various banks indicate that, despite numerous challenges facing the banking sector, the management of Ecobank Liberia remained buoyant and superb in terms of service delivery.
"For me I think Ecobank stands out as the best bank so far during the year," Josephus Tarjuo said in an interview. "The Bank's relationship with customers and its handling of cases markedly improved and remain unmatched during the year."
Expressing a similar position was 26-year S. Manh Tokpa, another customer of Ecobank. "If there is any bank that changed by unfavorable thinking about commercial banks, it is Ecobank," he said adding: "My little saving account with this bank grew some feathers I lest expected, and each time I need some money from it, I got it in time."
Amongst the many commercial banks in Liberia, Ecobank was found particularly during 2012 to exercise the highest level of integrity as well as commitment to serving its many costumers and has also served as a positive reference point in the Liberian economy.
The bank has performed immensely in separate areas of the sector, to name a few, the Organic Revenue & PBT – Ecobank has beat the historical organic performance and outgrow the competition, Cost to Income Ratio – The bank has set the benchmark in Liberia and Customers – The market share on its customers acquisition has grown rapidly.
Documents available to The Analyst shows Ecobank growth in key performance variables it a total asset of US$320m, while total deposits climbed up to $215 million
The Banks gave out loans in the tune of $104 million, while total shareholders' funds was up to US$29 million.
During the year, The Analyst discovered that number of Ecobank-Liberia customers rose to 205,691.
Beyond commercial banking services offered during 2012, Ecobank-Liberia made a plethora of donations in line with its corporate social responsibilities.
It can be recalled that Ecobank donated 50 trolleys to the Roberts International Airport, to ensure the smooth movement of passenger's luggage from various points at the airport.
During 2012, the bank also continued its scholarship program at the various universities both locally and internationally.
Ecobank was the only bank that identified with the Liberian Government during the July 26 independence celebration. The bank distributed Corporate Gifts which include Coffee Mugs, T- shirts and ATM Wallets, to guests at the program held at the Centennial Pavilion.
Under its social responsibility outreach, Ecobank was again the only bank that identified with refugees in commemoration of world Refugee day in 2012, as well as the African Union Day.
Recently, Ecobank identified with government during the official launch of the Liberian Swedish Feeder Road Project (LSFRP) in Lofa County.
The bank was highly commended by Vice President Joseph Boakai and Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods for the level of support given to Liberian businesses. They made specific reference to West Wood Corporation, the company recruited to construct the road, which is being supported by Ecobank.
During the Christmas season, the Bank made a couple of donations to Orphanage Homes, the elderly and the physically challenged. Items donated were rice, soap, oil and other assorted food and non- food items.
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 32 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.