By Alusine Sesay
The Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB), of which the government of Sierra Leone owns a majority 51% shares, has embarked on a new management direction designed to reverse the downside to doing business as a semi-enterprise and to increase management efficiency and returns to shareholders.
The bank’s management is now actively focused on meeting regulatory compliance with strategies being put in place to reduce costs, improve customer service and operational efficiency and manage risk more effectively.
The bank had faced series of challenges after the war and starting all over again, the institution had its problems one of which has been the refusal or inability of businesses, institutions and individuals to pay back loans given to them. The bank has now embarked on a massive loan recovery drive targeting defaulters across the country.
The presence of many foreign banks in the country has changed the local banking industry thus affecting the market share distribution in Sierra Leone.
Moreover, the challenges and opportunities of Sierra Leone’s post-war commercial banking industry and the country’s economic success as a result of increased activities reported in all sectors of the economy will possibly create enormous opportunities for financial institutions that consistently provide excellent and cost-effective customer service. It will also streamline the process and procedures to better manage risk, meet regulatory demands and operate more efficiently.
According to a senior management staff of the bank, the institution – named after the longest river in Sierra Leone – will focus on understanding customers and their needs from their perspective, improve on its market penetration strategy, and clearly define its go-to-market for customers strategy, which will be informed by strong research skills backed with its knowledge of Sierra Leone’s banking industry.
“The bank will continue to effectively analyse its competitors and evaluate the financial feasibility of all potential opportunities, leverage technology to simplify both operational and business activities and continue to provide innovative and holistic cash management and payment solutions that will help customers access to financial service,” he said.
Over the last five years, the bank recorded an average 17.2% return on shareholders’ funds and an average of 3% net asset value per share.
Rokel Commercial Bank operates three business segments: retail banking, corporate banking and money transfer; and provides the following services to its customers: current accounts, savings accounts, foreign currency, mobile banking, money transfers, international wire transfers, investment banking, electronic banking, safe custody, bonds and guarantee, letters of credit, internet and sms banking.