As part of efforts at creating a niche for itself in a highly competitive banking industry, Skye Bank Gambia Limited has been attracting millions of dollar investments into The Gambia over a short span of time in operation to boost the national economy and define the future business of the bank.
|Skye Bank Gambia MD Akim Usuf|
“In the last 10 to 11 months, we have been able to attract two very major (foreign) investments into the key sectors of the economy,” said Skye Bank Gambia Limited’ s CEO and Managing Director Akim Yusuf, at a press conference held on Wednesday at the bank’s head office on Kairaba Avenue.
The conference was meant to showcase the numerous achievements of the bank as it clocks three years in July this year in The Gambia.
One of the investments is in agriculture, Mr Yusuf said, adding that the bank has already attracted US$2m investment into the poultry industry of The Gambia.
“The factory, that we attracted the investment to, was virtually dead but today it has been revived and revamped thanks to the capital the investor pumped in there,” the Skye Bank CEO pointed out.
When the factory reaches its peak in production; it can supply 50,000 chickens every month, he said.
This is expected to save the country’s huge amount of cash being spent on chicken importation annually. The company has already employed many Gambians hence reducing the employment rate in the country, he disclosed.
The other huge investment the bank has attracted is directed at petroleum exploration. “We were able to attract an American multinational corporation to come and invest in the energy sector of the country,” the Skye Bank MD said. “The deal has been sealed as the government has already signed an agreement with the corporation, sometime ago.
“In fact as I speak, some of my colleagues are on their way to the airport to pick up a delegation from the company who are coming to the country to start the process of setting up their offices in The Gambia. The company is expected to spend about 20 to 50 million dollars in investment.”
He continued: “The corporation did not have any intention of coming to The Gambia; it was not even in their budget. At first we paid them a visit, made a presentation to show them why they should come to The Gambia. Of course it took about a year, but we are glad that we have won their confidence to come to the country.”
A sister company of that corporation has also expressed interest in the energy sector and discussions to that effect are also ongoing, Mr Yusuf disclosed.
Apart from the ones already on the ground, the bank is in the process of negotiating with other transnational corporations and enterprises for possible investment in other sectors of the economy including investors for the hospitality industry.
On supporting small-scale industries, MD Yusuf said about 40% of Skye Bank’s loan exposure is given to small-scale businesses.
He stated the bank’s willingness and readiness to support any local business that has the potentials and future prospects of growth.
In line with plans to bring banking to the doorstep of its clients, Skye Bank has also opened a 2nd branch in Banjul with another in the pipeline.
MD Yusuf says the bank, which has a state-of-the-art technology customers can utilize, is working on a plan to open three new branches between 2013 and 2015.
“Just last week we had approval from the CBG for a new line of product called Skye Global Account, which is basically for Gambians in the Diaspora,” MD Yusuf said.
The bank recently launched ‘Skye Flit Cash’ to add to its vast array of products. The Skye Flit Cash is an intra-West Africa money transfer service being carried out within Skye Bank’s network involving Nigeria, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The bank is also at an advanced stage in its plans to augment its capital requirement in line with the central bank capital requirement, which states that all banks have to increase their capital to at least D200 million by the end of this year.
“During the three years, we have developed solid foundation for our development in the future,” the Skye Bank MD said.
As part of its growth and expansion strategy, Skye Bank Gambia is positioning itself to be one of the favoured banks in the country.
The bank is equipped to deliver everyday traditional banking services which they aim to deliver with professionalism and courtesy to all their customers.
Customers of the bank enjoy retail banking products and services, corporate banking services, international money transfers, as well as interbank and international trading transactions.