The premium agriculture bank in Liberia, Afriland First Bank, has opened two additional branches in Monrovia in continuation of its commitment to, among other things, upholding Agriculture lending and lending to SMEs at an affordable market rates to its targeted customers, a release has said.
The two new branches were opened on July 18, 2018 with the Fiamah Branch in Sinkor at the intersection of Gibson Avenue while the Duala Branch is adjacent NIC Mattress Factory, Opposite Lucky Pharmacy respectively. The Chief executive officer (CEO) of the Afriland First Bank Liberia, Mr. Robert Nkous, under whose administration the two new branches were established, was praised for being an asset to the growth and development of the bank in Liberia.
The opening ceremonies of the branches were marked with festivities including playing of music, jingles and street publicities simultaneously in the two locations.
Afriland First Bank Liberia is a subsidiary of Afriland Frist Bank Group from Cameroon and opened its doors to the Liberian public since March 2011.
The opening of the two new branches brings to four branches that the bank has in Liberia. The Head Branch is on Crown Hill and there is a branch in Red Light, Paynesville, Barclay Mission Junction opposite Barshell University College.
Over the past years, the bank has continued to provide product and services not limited to agric-financing and general SMEs financing, working capital financing, mortgage loans, contract financing, Salary loans services, among other things.
The Bank is also involved with swift money transfer services, local transfer, Moneygram, and Coin Ster services while its new services include Mobile money, SMS Alert. The ATM service of the bank will be available soon.
The bank targeted customers as small and medium Enterprises, while its deposit products include Current Account, Checking, Saving, Special Deposit as well as Islamic Deposit Accounts, among others.
Upon entry into the Liberian Market, Afriland First Bank Liberia noted a declining trend in lending to agriculture sector and thus agri-lending constituted only a small portion of a total lending in the economy.
The Bank also noted an exclusion of rural communities from banking services since many banks focused on urban and densely populated locations for their branches.
Besides, the bank noted that SME loans were provided mainly by one bank at high interest rates and charges which resulted to a much reduced market for such facilities.
The above challenges provided a window of opportunity for the AFBL to establish itself within the banking sector with regards to Agriculture lending to SMEs in general at market rates that are more affordable for its customers.
As a result, the AFBL used the opportunity to introduce and develop the MC2 (Means Community Competence) and Rural Community Financial Institution (RCFI) model which promote financial inclusion for rural dwellers. Presently, the Afriland First Bank has 12 MC2 in eight counties including, Gbarpolu, Rivercess, Bong, Lofa, Nimba, River Gee, Sinoe and Grand Kru counties.
The Bank MC2 and RCFI network have been assisting the Central Bank of Liberia over the past six years to pay the salaries of Civil Servants in those locations.