Bank PHB in full glare
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The erstwhile International Bank for Commerce (IBC) has been rebranded to its successor Bank PHB, which is an extension of a leading financial institution in Nigeria's banking industry.
The new brand was formally unveiled on Friday at a dinner held at the five-star Sheraton Hotel in Brufut, presided over by the secretary of state for Finance and Economic Affairs, Musa Gibril Bala Gaye, on behalf of President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh.
Bank PHB is reputed for its superior value customer services and extensive experience in banking. It is also renowned for its innovative customer-centred services, as they showcase a wide-range of alternative financial products that run to offer its customers with solutions to their unending financial needs.
The launch was also attended by the speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay, the governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Bamba Saho, high profile officials of the private sector including the officials of Bank PHB, business people, among other dignitaries.
"I am aware that Bank PHB is the fastest growing bank in Nigeria, ranked among the first five among Nigeria's 24 banks. Our expectation is that you bring that tradition of excellence into The Gambia, fostering healthy competition in the banking industry here that will ultimately lead to a significant improvement not only in the banking products and services, but also stimulate overall improvement in the economy," said SoS Gaye, while delivering a speech on behalf of the president, who was honoured as the special guest of honour.
Affirming that the president takes the development in the banking sector very seriously, as it is the pivot on which economic activities are hinged, the Finance and Economic Affairs SoS assured the bank that they would continue to give support and play their role as regulators.
"The strategic location of The Gambia has always endeared it to the hearts of investors. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the coast of The Gambia was a major port for the lucrative trade in slaves, which were brought in by Arab traders through Gao and Timbooktu. The Gambian coast was also used for the trade in gold and ivory by both the Portuguese and English traders," said the SoS, while buttressing the longstanding economic significance of The Gambia, as strategic location.
He then continued: "The country was so important to all the empires it fell under that, at a time during the early and late 19th centuries, it was the subject of a constant tussle between the English, French and Portuguese colonialists."
Though relatively small, SoS Gaye described The Gambia as a country where untapped resources are flowing.
"I dare say that your choice of The Gambia as the first port of call in your expansion into the West Coast, and indeed the entire Africa is a wise and promising decision," he noted, while welcoming the bank to The Gambia.
The Finance and Economic Affairs SoS was hopeful that the emergence of Bank PHB to the country's banking landscape, with the injection of more funds, and an abiding promise of better services for the people, indicates "our vision of a Gambia that will ultimately become an investment haven for the best business in the world".
"This is primarily for two major reasons: First, for the people of Gambia, Bank PHB offers a major alternative in innovative financial solution and unparalleled customer experience. Our retail strategy was recently hailed by Renaissance Capital as the most well thought out in the Nigerian banking industry while a leading national paper named Bank PHB the most innovative bank in Nigeria," he declared.
He then continued: "Secondly, for us in Bank PHB, today's unveiling marks the first expression of our global expansion drive expected to soon see us establishing strategic dominance in West Africa in the short run and eventually make a major inroad in different parts of Eastern and Central Africa."
According to the Bank PHB MD, his bank has become a life experience for the average Nigerian, popular for its innovativity, creativity, resilience and foresight.
"Bank PHB's 2007 financial report card also confirms it emergence as Nigeria's eight biggest bank with total assets and contingents of N480 billion (US$84 Million) representing increases of 155 per cent in total assets and contingents and 197 per cent in profits. Bank PHB controls about 70 per cent of the Nigerian stock exchange market capitalisation," Mr Chibundu added.
Noting that they find The Gambia a strategic business destination, Mr Chibundu said The Gambia's corruption index is about the lowest in Africa, making it a safe haven for investment, relaxation and business.
"Bank PHB is in The Gambia to support the government's effort in expanding the economic opportunities available to the average Gambian representing all classes of customers. Our retail suit offers financial options that leave no customer stranded outside the financial space," an optimistic Bank PHB boss stated.
Ahmed Koro, the executive director of Bank PHB in Nigeria, who represented his chief executive officer, said they are in The Gambia to reach out to the "unbanked, the under-banked and indeed Africans both at home and in the diaspora, who have yearned for the customer experience which only Bank PHB offers".
For her part, Fatou Mas Jobe, the group head of Retail Banking, who delivered the vote of thanks, traced the historical relations between Nigeria and The Gambia, which could be traced as far back as The Gambia's Independence in 1965, before delving into the economy.
Mrs Mas Jobe, a redoubtable Gambian banker, who is famous for her reservoir of innovations, said The Gambia has in recent years witnessed a steady growth in its economy, enhanced by the economic opportunities.
"For us as an institution just a few years into our operations, our scorecard speaks so eloquently of our service excellence and commitment to employee welfare. A few months after assuming management responsibility of the erstwhile IBC; we effected a significant upward review of salaries thus making us one of the highest paying banks in The Gambia," she said, while elaborating on other significant undertakings by the bank.
"Through our convictions and actions both in financial management and human development, we have become synonymous with 'Thinking Possible' and extraordinary achievements. Bank PHB is the first Nigerian corporate organisation to partner with the US government in the sponsorship of its most prestigious scholarship programme: The Fulbright Scholarship," she said.
Bank PHB's Mas Jobe was of the hope that in the next few years, Bank PHB would have been fully transformed into a true financial supermarket, providing services not only in banking, but also in asset management, insurance and other related financial services.
Author: by Ebrima Jaw Manneh