LBDI Honor President Sirleaf At Its Golden Jubilee Celebration

The Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) has recognized and honored President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and several former chief executive officers (CEOs) and presidents of the bank, for their invaluable services, leadership and efforts in establishing and taking the bank from nowhere to somewhere over the last 50 years.   
 
Others honored included John G. Bestman, Philip T. Bowen (late), Frank Stewart (late), James T. Philips (late), David Farhat, G. Alvin Jones, P. Clarence Parker (late), James S.P Cooper, and Emmanuel Shaw, amongst others.
 
According to an Executive Mansion release, the honor was bestowed on them during a gala reception in observance of LBDI's Golden Jubilee celebration of dedicated services held at the Executive Pavilion on Friday, November 27, 2015.
 
In special remarks at the event, President Sirleaf, who is credited for leaving a legacy behind at the institution  that ensured that the bank is only operated by Liberian financial experts said, “The LBDI has come a very long way in helping to lift the people of this country from its financial woes.”
 
Referring to the former CEOs and presidents of the bank as the building blocks, she continued: “I want to say to all them around this table that they indeed were the building blocks of our nation. They set the foundation that today we can all be proud of when we talk about LBDI.”
 
The Liberian leader commended the bank for its support and partnership to the Government of Liberia during the fight of the deadly Ebola virus disease, the home mortgage loan, small and medium size businesses.
 
Besides, the Liberian leader recognized the LBDI's support to the rubber industry through the rubber planters’ association as well as its financial support to other Liberian own businesses, including the Kumba Bendu & Son business entity in the area of “Made in Liberia” toiletry production.
 
She indicated that although she was honored along with almost all of the bank’s former CEOs and presidents, some of those who served at the entity, including the late Frank Stewart and the late Clarence Parker, actually laid the foundation for the LBDI’s existence, long before she and all those honored and certificated ascended to the helm of the institution’s authority.
 
President Sirleaf said judging from the works of these people, leading the bank so safely and successfully thus far, “We see them as the building blocks of our nation as they set the foundation that we all can be proud of when we talk about the LBDI.”
 
She said as the nation was just recovering from the Ebola crisis, with the economy faced with some stress, the prudent policy of Central Bank’s Executive Governor, Dr. J. Mills Jones, should be blended with the fine policies of the LBDI in ensuring that some of these problems are tackled during these turbulent times in Liberia.
 
President Sirleaf used the occasion to challenge Liberians to continue to be good and strong citizens and to continue to give whatever they can for the development of the country like the LBDI over the last fifty years.
 
She said a Nation that is proud of itself, proud of its people and proud of its existence is a nation that can stand the test of times. She hoped that Liberians and foreign guests at the 50th anniversary of LBDI, recognizing the work of the bank over the years, recognizing what those who have been heading the entity have been doing, be aware that what it takes to be a leader is based on the training and how one implements the training.
 
President Sirleaf requested members of the bank’s executive to continue to meet the aspirations of the Liberian people, continue to meet the goals of the institution’s policy so as to leave behind a post-conflict success story in Liberia.
 
She expressed thanks and appreciation to the LBDI family for the honor including its customers – the Liberian people – for all the support they have given the bank over the last 50 years of existence.
 
Reading the history of the bank at the ceremony, earlier, the chief executive officer and president of the LBDI, Mr. John B.S. Davies, in an introductory message commended the bank’s shareholders, board of directors, customers, depositors, as well as other beneficiaries for standing with them throughout the course of the five decades of the bank’s uninterrupted services to the nation.
 
“We thank you for standing with us at 50,” Davies noted at the gathering, adding, “We are happy to state that the journey of our existence which started with the Government of Liberia and the International Finance Corporation and consummated with an Act of the Legislature in 1961, has had an important impact on the development of our banking industry.”
 
Also making remarks at the ceremony, one of the honorees, Mr. Elias Saleeby, who served as Minister of Finance, and first serving Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, when it was transformed from the National Bank of Liberia, said in 1974, while working with the World Bank Group in New York, he was requested by some Liberian authorities to come home and manage the LBDI before assuming authority, for the sake of financial transparency.
 
Former Governor Saleeby said he told President Tubman and all those who wanted him to assume authority at the LBDI that if the bank is audited, as he wanted it to be, before assuming authority, if the goods he was contemplating delivering are not delivered, he should be fired.”
 
He said one of the reasons for his call at that time was that Liberia was too small in its financial dealings compared to other financially potent nations. But, according to him, despite that, certain loans that the bank was in need of was given, and the bank, under his leadership fulfilled 71 percent interest rate in US$2 million.
 
The program was graced by senior government officials, foreign partners, civil society, business executives, and customers amongst others.

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