Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB), Sierra Leone’s first fully indigenous bank, is a key player in the country’s banking sector, well known for its wide range of world- class services. SLCB is the country’s only 100% state owned bank but it is operated like a private enterprise and is completely free from any control by the government.
The bank was founded in the 1970s to provide an alternative to the country’s two foreign banks operating at that time and to serve mainly locals, but it has expanded to offer a full range of services to both local and foreign customers and has positioned itself as the ideal partner for foreign investors in Sierra Leone. Managing Director Chrispin Deigh explains, “SLCB is comparable with any other high quality banking institution around the world. We abide by international best standards.”
SLCB has total assets of around SLL450 billion (€74.6 million), up 20% over 2009. “2010 has been very positive for us in terms of balance sheet growth, income generation and profits,” Chrispin Deigh points out. SLCB is very active in providing loan support to a wide range of businesses, particularly in the oil, construction, mining and ICT sectors. It also provides loans to small and medium sized enterprises and individuals.
Bank of choice for leading foreign enterprises
SLCB is the bank of choice for a number of foreign enterprises, including international oil marketing companies, various United Nations agencies, International Non-Curabitural Organisations (NGOs) and Embassies, among many others. SLCB also partners with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and as Chrispin Deigh explains, “The IFC would not work with our bank if it were not up to the highest standards.”
To maintain its competitive edge, SLCB is currently focusing on developing even more tailor-made services for its customers and it particularly welcomes the chance to serve foreign investors in Sierra Leone, for example in the fast growing mining sector. The bank has developed an extensive network of branches all over the country.
SLCB is on the government’s list for privatisation and offers an outstanding investment opportunity. Chrispin Deigh says, “Even if the government decides not to float its full 100% share in the bank, we welcome the chance to work with a strategic international partner who can acquire shares along with local owners and take the bank to new heights. SLCB is very well respected in this country because we focus on providing excellent service that meets the highest standards.”