– President Ali promises to continue to create an enabling environment
Demerara Bank Limited on Tuesday opened its 8th local branch, this time in Mahaica on Demerara’s East Coast (ECD), with President Dr Irfaan Ali praising the bank for the initiative while at the same time ensuring Government continues to create Environment enablement.
The branch, which is a $ 500 million investment, was opened with the President, who had just come from a tour of Region Eight, in attendance. In his address to the meeting, Ali mentioned how committed the Government is to partnering with the Private Sector to ensure continued economic expansion.
“I want to reassure you in the banking sector that we are going to work aggressively on creating a conducive environment for growth, creating opportunities for economic expansion. But we are not going to get into the business of producing wealth from that creation. That’s for the Private Sector. Make sure you have a Government that is ready and willing to work with you. “
The President pointed out that opening one at a time when banks are closing down around the world is testament to the bank’s confidence in Guyana’s economy. More so, he praised the specific option to open a bank in Mahaica, which is an important agricultural belt.
“Perhaps the biggest benefit of establishing a presence here is that you have de-risked the area. And a lot of this will have to happen. De-risk important economic zones. And the Government must be able to support this. And that’s why I thought it was necessary and important to be here, ”said President Ali.
Also in attendance was a Senior Minister at the Presidency’s Office with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh. In his address to the meeting, Singh urged the bank to be innovative and try to bring in new customers who may be skeptical about the financial sector.
According to the Minister, more efforts must be made to make the general banking sector friendlier and more welcoming to customers, especially those with bankable offers and ideas seeking business loans.
“While we applaud the remarkable expansion that Demerara Bank has achieved … it is extremely important for the financial sector and for all of us to aggressively seek out new opportunities, new ways in which we can innovate , new paths that we can expand. I would encourage you to look for aggressive and new lending opportunities, to expand your operations. “
“Gone are the days when customers have to leave Mahaica to go to Georgetown bank branch. But we want to get to the point where it’s finally gone are the days when they even have to leave their homes, or their chairman, to carry out bank transactions, ”explained the Finance Minister.
In his address to the gathering, Demerara Bank CEO Pravinchandra Dave explained that the bank is powered by solar energy and that the total investment in the bank amounts to $ 500 million – including $ 308 million for the building and $ 62 million for the solar energy.
“Our purpose in coming to Mahaica is to serve the farmers and entrepreneurs. Before officially opening the branch, we have already opened 1020 accounts… tomorrow those customers can come and do their transactions. ”
Chairman of Demerara Bank and local business acumen Dr Yesu Persaud reflected on the steps the bank has taken since it opened its first branch in 1994. He noted that he had taken the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) access to Government in 1992 for the bank to move forward.
“This bank was supposed to be in the ’70s, but every time I applied for a license, no answer. And that continued until (1992) when (former President Dr. Cheddi) Jagan came to power. And we both had discussions and when Demerara Bank was announced as the new bank, it was a joy. And what we’ve done, now we have eight branches. “
Last month, despite a year of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Demerara Bank recorded $ 2.2 billion in profits for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2020. It also paid its highest dividend.