The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Liberia Bankers' Association (LBA) yesterday signed an agreement with the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) to provide technical assistance for the establishment of the proposed Bankers' Institute of Liberia.
The CIBN will also provide support geared towards the establishment of an examination center in Liberia.
Prof. Segun Ajibola, President of CIBN who spoke at the program, said the agreement is the first international collaboration that will be executed since he assumed the leadership of the CIBN.
He said the CIBN made Africa proud with a successful biennial global forum that brought together more than 600 professionals covering a wide spectrum of the financial sectors and other stakeholders involved in banking operations, education and training.
Mr. Ajibola made these statements yesterday during the signing of the agreement at the CBL headquarters in Monrovia.
He said with the CBL on the journey to professionalize banking not only in Liberia and Nigeria but the entire African continent, "I place on record our appreciation of Governor Milton A. Weeks, for his contribution to the improvement of the banking sector in Liberia.
"You would recall that as part of his career journey he made a stop for a few years in Nigeria heading one of the leading banks.
"I will be remiss if I don't acknowledge that the Governor, a longstanding Honorary Senior Member of the Institute, was a member of faculty at the recently concluded World Conference," he said.
To underline Governor Weeks' interest in the project, Mr. Ajibola said "it will interest you to know that the discussion on it commenced when he was secretary of LBA-pledge, a commitment of LBA efforts to the process.
"Indeed, today is the beginning of a new dawn for the bankers and the banking system in Liberia.
"This is the culmination of a journey which commenced in 2014 but slowed down as a result of circumstances beyond the control of those of us involved.
"The main objective of this relationship is the nurturing and production of more knowledgeable, skilled and competent workforce for the Liberian banking sector," he added.
He said the occasion has the potential of raising the competency and skills of those working in the Liberian banking industry.
By these agreements, Mr. Ajibola noted that everybody employed and those to be employed in the banking industry in the country including those of Nigerian banks operating here in Monrovia are expected to register, enroll and sit for the CIBN banking professional's examinations in Monrovia.
He admitted that this is the second time the CIBN will be executing this type of agreement with the Central Bank and the Bankers' Association of another country.
In 2012, Mr. Ajibola said the institution executed a similar agreement with the Central Bank of The Gambia, "and I am happy to tell you that it is currently yielding positive fruits as several of the practitioners in the country have completed different stages of the examinations thereby strengthening the human capacity and competencies."
As the issue of ethics and professionalism is considered very crucial to the sustainability of the banking industry, the President of CIBN said "we developed a code of conduct for the Nigerian Banking Industry which all employees of the banks have attested to."
In the same vein, "we play the role of financial ombudsman as the secretary of the Bankers' Committees' subcommittee on ethics and professionalism.
"We will be willing to avail the CBL our experience in this regards to develop a code of conduct and set the financial ombudsman model.
"I have no doubt that the benefits of some of our collaborative initiatives with all the institutions named above will positively impact on the noble agreements being executed today," he added.
Ajibola said that since the establishment of the CIBN in 1963, they have risen to relevance and reckoning and have continued to record outstanding achievements. Its membership has grown to 120,000, making it the largest in Africa and one of the top 10 in the world.
For his part, CBL Governor Weeks expressed gratitude to the president of the CIBN for the initiative and said he was gratified for the success of the agreement.
He also welcomed the new project and hoped that Liberian financial institutions will make maximum use of the program.
LBA president John Davies also welcomed the achievement and expressed the association's gratitude to the CBL for its support. He noted that the success of the initiative is a testament of CBL's commitment to make a positive platform to aid Liberian bankers to excel.
Accordingly, a large number of Liberian bankers from the various banks attended yesterday's program.