By Lansana Fofanah.
The introduction of the Mi Yone Teller/Kiosk door-to door banking system by the nation’s leading financial institution; the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) has automatically changed the crude system of banking in the country.
Within few months of launching the product, over ten thousand non-banking Sierra Leoneans have opened new accounts with the Bank due to the accessibility and easy banking methods that have been introduced.
Working in line with the New Direction’s policy of Financial Inclusion and the popular demand for the Teller/ Kiosk service, SLCB has embarked on a nationwide financial inclusion drive throughout the country in order to reach unbanked towns and communities in the country.
Being an ICT driven institution, the Bank over the weekend successfully launched the Mi Yone Teller services in Bo and Kenema which occasion was graced in a colorful atmosphere by stakeholders and the entertainment industry.
Prior to the South East launch, the Bank has already introduced the Mi Yone Teller/Kiosk in Adonkia, Wilberforce in Freetown and Jui in the Western Rural district which has made the Bank to swiftly take its place as the leading innovating bank for service delivery in the country.
Launching the product in Kenema, Honorable Member of Parliament, Francis Amara Kai Samba of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party commended the Bank for not only taking their products and services to their communities, but also giving access to miners and farmers to easily do their banking services instead of depositing their monies at home which is not safe.
He described the Bank as an institution that accommodates every Sierra Leoneans without looking at status or colour.
The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Philip T. Tondoneh expressed profound happiness as the Bank has already created an opportunity for rural area financing which will facilitate soft loan agreement for farmers and miners. He called on everyone to embrace the bank as this is an opportunity for them to be included in the formal financial sector.
Welcoming new customers to the Banking family, the Deputy Managing Director of SLCB, Bockarie A. Kalokoh said that, the ‘Lion’ is on a mission to get every Sierra Leonean involved in the banking sector irrespective of where one might be. “We want to ensure that the next survey by any financial institution will portray our country in a positive way towards the Financial Inclusion Drive”, he said.
Speaking with the Head of Retail Banking, Festus Sowah, he said that SLCB cannot be proud of its name as being the Bank for Sierra Leoneans without creating a platform that can reach everyone. This according to him led to the development of such facilities to directly target people that have been left out for so long in the banking sector. “The strength and resilience of Sierra Leone Commercial Bank lie on the people of Sierra Leone. The Lion cares for everyone and that is why we are moving from our comfortable zones to meet you as we don’t want anyone to be left out in this financial inclusion drive,” he said.
Displaying to customers the reliability and effectiveness during a product display, Madam Salberta J. Egbenda and Robert David Kailie from the Digital Banking department assured customers that the system is safe, secured and guaranteed and has every security features that cannot be tampered with.
Mr. Kailie said that with just twenty thousand Leones and a voter ID card, a customer is guaranteed the same services offered at the Headquarters.
Director of Business Development, Moses Sesay said that previous statistics show that only 20 % out of the seven million Sierra Leoneans do bank transaction which shows that more needs to be done to break that chain.
“There have been a long-term perception that, banking is only meant for millionaires and that has made many people to distance themselves from the banks. With this our new approach and system, our customers can access the same facilities anywhere just like those in our Headquarters”, he said.
Representing the House of Parliament, Hon. Bashiru Silikie of Constituency 082 said that they cannot be boastful of their status as Parliamentarians had it not been the endless financial support they continue to get from SLCB. “Parliamentarians have been getting soft loans from the SLCB which enables them to get vehicles, live a better life and the sensible thing about this bank is that, it is one hundred percent a Sierra Leonean Bank and has been living up to its Corporate Social Responsibility,” he said.