Union Trust Bank reduces burden of banking in rural Communities

….opens branch in Yoni Chiefdom in Mile 91

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya

The Union Trust Bank Sierra Leone which is the only indigenous Commercial bank in Sierra Leone has opened its 12th branch in Yoni Chiefdom in Mile 91. The branch office in Mile 91 will serve as a regional depot and a training centre for officials of the UTBank in the country. President Ernest Bai Koroma was the official guest of honor during the branch’s opening in the Tonkolili District on Friday 20th February 2015. The event was graced by senior government officials, members of the private sector, Paramount Chiefs in the Tonkolili District and other local dignitaries.

The newly Commissioned Union Trust Bank in Mile 91

The newly Commissioned Union Trust Bank in Mile 91

Giving his statement during the launching, the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Momodu Kargbo made it known that there are 18 commercial banks presently operating in the country with 97 branches across Sierra Leone. He said that out of this number, Union Trust Bank has 12 branches, which constitutes 12.7 percent.  Mr. Kargbo also said that only 14 percent of the country’s population has active bank accounts.

The Bank Governor noted that UTB bank has been in the forefront of supporting small and medium enterprises, providing 14.28 percent of total funds given to enterprises as loans by all commercial banks operating in the country. He commended board of directors, management and staff of Union Trust Bank for taking banking to the doorstep of people in rural areas who had been excluded in the banking system.

The Chairman, Board of Directors of UTBank, Haja Hajaratu Musu Mahdi, said that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the full operation of UTB as the only indigenous private commercial bank in the country. She also informed attendants that this year is the 20th anniversary of the operations of the Global Western Union Money transfer services in Africa, with UTB as one of the first institutional partners. “As we welcome you here today, let us all celebrate our achievements both as a provider of universal financial services, and as a strong partners in the largest money transfer service in the world,” she said.

“Over these twenty years, we have extended our services far beyond our projections which have had huge impact on the quality and relevance of financial services country-wide.”

She adds “we have the largest network in terms of branches, outlets, point of sale, agencies and sub-agencies. It is the only bank in nine out of the 13 geographical districts, and we have the strongest and most extensive penetration in the small and medium scale enterprise development in the country”. She said that the bank has survived quite fairly against the intensive competition posed by the foreign owned banks that now constitute the majority within their industry.

The Founder and CEO of UTB, James Sanpha Koroma, assured that Union Trust Bank is fully committed to continue  to manage its affairs as  a national business, serving all Sierra Leoneans fairly and diligently nationwide. He said “I will fall short of my task if I do not seize the opportunity of this occasion to acknowledge and thank very profusely, His Excellency the President, the International community and all Sierra Leoneans who have devoted tireless efforts on the fight against the Ebola virus epidemic”.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Matthew Teambo, who chaired the occasion, said the opening a UTB branch office in Mile 91 will facilitate the growth of businesses, contributes to social and economic development, creates employment and offers college internship opportunity among others.

While making a statement before dedicating the bank, President Koroma applauded the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Union Trust Bank, Mr. James Sanpha Koroma for being consistent in his drive to take banking to the doorstep of people. He said this shows that Sierra Leoneans can do it adding that “this is a sign of achievement we should be proud of”.

He noted that if Sierra Leoneans could work together, they would be successful. He said while government continue to put new money into banks own by government in the country, Union Trust Bank continues to be an example of an institution that is successful. The President noted that the bank has succeeded in creating employment for many Sierra Leoneans, and contribute to economic development of the country.

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