Guaranty Trust Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in Sierra Leone, has during their Annual General Meeting promised their customers nationwide of new products and applications that will make banking easier for them.
"The bank has a cradle to grave approach in its operations and we continue to, therefore design products that are applicable to every segment irrespective of the age bracket of its customers. This is clearly demonstrated in our smart kids saving, GT Crea8, E-savers and GT Seniors products, and will continue to ensure that we have products for every unique customer," Dr. Emerson George Taylor-Lewis said
Addressing the bank's top management team and shareholders yesterday, June 24th, at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown, the Chairman Board of Director Dr. Emerson George Taylor-Lewis, said the bank has continued to witness significant strides in growing its market share in the financial sector through its customer centric approach to business operations.
He said they were proud to report that their bank recorded significant success in the year 2018 despite the challenges in the operating environment and delivered a strong financial performance.
He disclosed that the bank's capital position remains strong with a capital adequacy ratio of 41.5% and that they were proposing a final dividend of Le433 per share.
He said Sierra Leone was richly endowed with commodities, principal of which are precious minerals such as diamond, bauxite, iron ore, rutile and to a lesser extent, gold and zircon, adding that the international movement in the prices of those commodities has a direct impact on the economy of the country.
He said in 2018 the country witnessed a mixed basket in terms of commodity price movements, thus noting that they saw stability and some level of growth in the price of diamonds, bauxite and gold which had its positive effect on the country, but the effect was significantly diluted by the drop in iron ore price which constitutes the bulk of the country's mineral exports.
He said in reality the drop in the iron ore prices contributed to the final decision of the largest iron ore mining company in the country to shut down its operations, and that the immediate infect of the shutdown was a further drop in volume of foreign exchange inflows into the country resulting in a significant depreciation of the local currency over the period.
He said in the past, the bank continued to maintain its position as one of the most profitable commercial banks in the country, adding that the institution has distinguished itself as the most profitable bank in the country by recording an impressive profit before tax of Le 90.18 billion for the financial year ending December 31st 2018, an increase of 36% (Le 24.10 billion) over 2017 profit before tax of (Le 66.09 billion).
He said in the absence of a functional capital market, the bank was supporting the growth of the business community with loans to existing businesses to enable their expansion and working capital management, and to that infect the bank grew its loan portfolio by 27% from Le 314.64 billion in 2017 to Le399.53 billion in 2018.
He further stated that as at December 31st 2018, the bank total shareholders stood at Le 228.88 billion, thus positioning the bank as the most capitalized commercial bank in Sierra Leone and the shareholders fund comprises paid up capital Le 61.20 billion, which suppresses the regulatory requirement of Le 30 billion and a total reserve of Le167.67 billion.
He said they were continuously improving and extending their alternative channels in order to ensure that their customers banked conveniently without necessarily going into the banking hall, adding that their GTsimpay product continues to gain grounds as its offers their customers the ease of carrying out banking transactions from their mobile phones including paying every day bills and transferring money to friends and family members