VP Howard Taylor hails bank’s 75% female quota at management level
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Bank Liberia Limited (IBLL) or IB, Henry F. Saamoi, says the bank remains humbled by the support of its partners and valued customers, as serving the people has been and continues to be their greatest privilege.
Mr. Saamoi made the remarks on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at the grand opening of the bank’s new corporate headquarters, located on Tubman Boulevard, between 11th and 12th Streets, Sinkor.
Mr. Saamoi said the dedicated staff of the bank will continue to help their valued customers and prospective valued customers to build the future they dream about through tailored and personalized banking services.
According to Mr. Saamoi, the IBLL remains one of the very few foreign investments in Liberia that is run entirely by a Liberian management team and lauded the Board of Directors for believing in the team which is made of committed and dedicated Liberians.
Mr. Saamoi said IBLL, formerly of International Trust Company (ITC) as trust partner, believes that there is no better time than now to reaffirm to the Liberian people that the bank is here to stay.
“Now, the skylines of Sinkor are lit by our new state of the art headquarters in the new commercial district of Monrovia, signifying our commitment to giving our valued customers a world-class customer service experience, while behind the scenes, updated IT platforms will allow us to reach new customers with an array of products and services,” Mr. Saamoi said.
Mr. Saamoi said IB has cemented relationships with international partners including the Development Finance Corporation of the United States, which allowed the bank to benefit from a US$20 million facility for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in 2017 and the bank is about to conclude another US$20 million facility with a longer tenor for Liberian SMEs.
“We commit to being here for the next 60 years and more to celebrate the true spirit of trust, reliability, resilience, diversity, and beauty of the Liberian people and, of course, our exquisite pepper coast, represented by our pepper bird,” Mr. Saamoi said.
Liberia’s former President, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said the dedication of the IBLL’s new facility is another milestone for Liberia and it is as a result of a long journey of relationship with Mr. Stephen Douglas Cashin, Director and Majority Shareholder of the bank.
Madam Sirleaf said Mr. Cashin, who is the founder and majority shareholder of IBLL, has been an associate, partner, assistant, and adviser in a collaborative journey of financial services for over 25 years.
“Today, we have remained close professionals, close family friends, and I have seen and been a part of the growth of his children from childhood to professional working today. It was therefore expected that Mr. Cashin would support me when I became President of Liberia and that he would do so, constant with our professional experience, by establishing a financial institution,” Madam Sirleaf said.
Madam Sirleaf, who encouraged Mr. Cashin in 2007 to invest in Liberia, said, however, her position as President prohibited her from taking a share in the bank or participating on its Board of Directors.
According to her, the IBLL is one of the friendships with value that exceeds rewards, financial or otherwise; a friendship that shares dream of a better life and does something of significance. “It’s a story of Liberia’s triumph that started as an investment in 2007 when Monrovia was still visibly recovering from 12 years of civil unrest to a battlesket home on Broad Street.”
Madam Sirleaf underscoring the long-standing relationship with Mr. Cashin, said during the difficult years of her journey, she was lifted by Mr. Cashin’s Company through the appointment to serve as a consultant based in Abidjan.
Performing the ribbon-cutting to open the bank’s new headquarters, Liberia’s Vice President, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, expressed gratitude to the management of the bank for its excellent project.
Vice President Howard-Taylor said the bank seeks to address the hardship of the Liberian people, especially the project announced to help women and young people.
“The government looks forward to seeing branches in the various cities in Liberia,” she said, expressing her delight at the increase in the number of women in the management team of the bank, which is said to be 75 percent female.
Vice President Howard-Taylor said she believes that the IB is the only institution that has taken the gender quotas high while appreciating the women who have worked so hard to ensure that their 75 percent is based on competence.
The inauguration was graced by several dignitaries including former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Liberia’s Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel F. McGill, president of the Liberia Bankers’ Association and President of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), John B. S. Davis, and several dignitaries.
Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Samuel D. Tweah, said it is amazing that the leadership of the IB, led by Liberians, is managing foreign capital, mobilizing and employing those capitals to productive usage during difficult moments over the years.
Minister Tweah said “today, we have gathered here to witness a transition and a celebration of International Bank. We are witnessing the transition of the IB to this magnificent corporate headquarters, which symbolizes flowering and maturing of the bank as a sound financial institution that is here to stay.”
He said for the leadership to be able to achieve this, is a symbol of Liberia’s success and must be celebrated, stating: “Mr. Saamoi and his team are monuments of Liberia’s success in the financial sector and look forward to replicating this model to other sectors of the country.”
Mr. Tweah said as a government, they are committed to creating an enabling environment to solve big risks or challenges while indicating that the government has done some things to help the banking sector and will continue to work together.
“The financial sector has been hit hard but the government is doing her best to ensure that the sector remains viable. We are working to resolve obligations in the financial sector. We are solving non-performing loans,” Mr. Tweah said.
Mr. Stephen D. Cashin, the Director and majority shareholder of the bank, expressed gratitude to the staff of the bank and customers for making his life a success.
“Thank you for giving us the confidence to reconnect to Liberia with a sincere investment, the corporate headquarters. Madam Vice President, thank you for your service to Liberia over a long period and also thank you for being a long-standing client of International Bank Liberia Limited,” Mr. Cashin said.
Mr. Cashin told Vice President Howard-Taylor the bank appreciates trust and commitment to working with the team of smart and dedicated Liberians.
Mr. Cashin also lauded former President Johnson Sirleaf for her continued promotion of Liberia to the world, which is bringing the country back to the world stage and respecting the democratic environment as well as allowing for democracy to take its course after her time was over.
Mr. Cashin lauded Mr. Saamoi, along with his team, for their commitment to the Board of Directors, to him, customers, and Liberia, stating “trust is hard to come, but I trust you.”
Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee praised the leadership of the IB and described the bank as a symbol of hope that will possibly change the lives of Liberians and the city.
Mayor Koijee said the bank has a good history of supporting Liberian small, medium, and enterprise businesses over the years and considers the new facility as a boost to the already strong relationship.
Mayor Koijee pledges the City of Monrovia’s commitment to a full partnership and cooperation with the bank for a results-focused program.
United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy said he believes Director Cashin, Mr. Saamoi, and all of the employees and shareholders of IB, their dedication to Liberia, and investment in the country’s banking sector and commercial growth over nearly two decades, is to be congratulated.
Ambassador McCarthy said opportunities to commemorate major new U.S.-driven investments in Liberia are much too rare these days, but the completion of this significant building is a symbol of IBLL’s resilience and commitment despite what both global indices and locals alike describe as a very difficult business climate.
Ambassador McCarthy said through many challenging periods, you have carried forward a vision of modern and professional commercial banking that can be a driver of economic growth.
“As the leading corporate-focused bank in Liberia, you have built up an impressive clientele of multinational companies, international NGOs and diplomatic missions, and Liberian and foreign 2 of 2 firms. At the U.S. Embassy, we are strongly convinced that Liberia’s journey to self-reliance and inclusive economic development is private sector-led,” Ambassador McCarthy said.
According to him, for Liberia’s development to be sustainable, “it needs more of the kind of investment like IBLL, which is being celebrated here today.”