Bankers’ President George Mensah-Asante, Stresses Digital Banking In Liberia

Mr. George Mensah-Asante, President of the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA) and General Manager or Chief Executive Officer

Mr. George Mensah-Asante, President of the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA) and General Manager or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ecobank-Liberia Limited has stressed the need for digital banking in the country.

Digital banking is part of the broader context for the move to online banking, where banking services are delivered over the internet.

The shift from traditional to digital banking has been gradual and remains ongoing, and is constituted by differing degrees of banking service digitization.

He said such technology is a more advanced and effective area in the financial sector and is being used or practicalized all over the world nowadays therefore Liberia should be of no exception.

Mensah-Asante said the intensifying competition in the banking sector for technological innovation cannot be overemphasized as it needs a pool of qualified and professional partners to promote the business culture toward a more effective and relevant system.

The LBA’s President made these comments during the formal certification of the fourth and fifth batches of candidates for the 2021 and 2022 training cycles of the Banking Institute of Liberia (BIL) held last Friday, December 02, in Monrovia.

He said as a result of the long period of sustained peace in Liberia the investment climate has been improving steadily over the years stating that even the banking and the broader financial sector is an effective engine and the way forward that is driving the country’s economy.

Mensah-Asante however stated that with great prospect of growth the financial sector continued to face the challenges of scarcity of the right set of skills and professionally trained personnel.

He said these challenges were even more as a result of the expansion of the operations of the banking sector in the country, therefore, the need for trained professionals with the technological know-how to be able to utilize the operation of an organization’s internal and external environment and the ability to marshall relevant innovation to make progress.

“The global banking industry is an evolving one. With great opportunities for personal and professional growth. Therefore, the industry remains very much important to the compelling needs of economic growth,” Mensah-Asante noted.

He then urged the candidates to keep learning new skills by developing their human capacity in the wake of digital banking that is becoming a more advanced and effective tool in the financial sector today.

Earlier, BIL’s Director General, Richard Saywah Panton, provided an update or year-in-review of the Institute saying the certification of the fourth and  fifth batches of candidates for 2021 and 2022 training cycles was another milestone achievement in the history of the institute.

He said level II participants for 2021 covered the period from Friday, 15 February to Friday, 30 April, 2021, should have been formally certificated before then but due to COVID restrictions the Institute deemed it necessary to have certificated them last Friday.

Panton said a total of 33 participants fall in such category stating that the Institute level II courses are upgraded versions of level I entry courses intended to upscale the professional, administrative and managerial competency of staffers in the banking and financial sector.

He said human capital development is essential for national growth and development in any society where there is highly skilled and trained manpower, the challenges facing the society can easily be overcome.

Panton believes that trained and skilled staffer have the capacity to unravel complex problems in the environment stressing that trained and skilled staff become more innovative in finding solutions to organizational problems as they possess the capacities to translate corporate policies into achievable action steps as well as deliver services with effectiveness and efficiency to the satisfaction of the clients and other stakeholders.

He used the platform by calling on the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and heads of commercial banks to make training at the Banking Institute of Liberia (BIL) a compulsory requirement for employment and upward mobility in the sector.

“This will elevate the institute as well as increase its visibility in the industry. This best practice is imminent and carried out on the African continent. Few cases in point are with the Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria, Kenya Institute Banking and Financial Services, Bankers College of Ghana, Egyptian Banking Institute just to name a few,” he noted.

The BIL’s boss then indicated that to institutionalize banking education in Liberia, the Institute is rolling out beginning next year (2023) program international professional banking diploma, graduate certificate in banking and finance, bank executive seminars and short term non-examinable professional development courses.

To the honorees, Panton went further that as they are full aware the financial sector is grossly challenged globally and Liberia is of no exception therefore, the Institute admonished them to use the skills acquired in mitigating the anomalies and thereby bringing sanity in the sector to maintain the confidence and trust of clients, investors and the general public.

During the ceremony, 81 candidates were certificated for successful completion of twelve level I short term bank related courses covering the period from Monday,  August 01 to  Friday, October 28, 2022, bringing to total 114 participants nominated from Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and Liberia Bankers Associations (LBA) member institutions which could not have been possible without stakeholders support.

The Banking Institute of Liberia (BIL) is a corporate training institute specialized in banking financial management and non-financial related disciplines in Liberia. The BIL was established in March 2014 by the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA) and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to provide capacity building and cutting edge training support to stakeholders in the banking, other corporate and financial sectors.

Besides the CBL which is the official regular, there are 10 commercial banks in the country. Of that number, 9 are owned and headed by non-Liberians excluding the LBDI.

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