The London based Ghana International Bank (GHIB) Monday opened its first four day international trade finance training program in Monrovia, Liberia. In attendance are thirty bankers from four countries in West Africa namely The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The workshop will focus on recent issues in international trade finance, risk assessment, money laundering and fraud as well as practical problem solving.
Making remarks at the opening of the workshop, the President of the Liberian Bankers Association (LBA) and also President and CEO of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Mr. John B. S. Davies lll said:
"We at the LBA are committed to promoting continuous professional development to ensure a sound banking system in Liberia and, to provide a forum for the discussion and communication of issues affecting the Banking community in particular and the economy as a whole. That is why I am particularly delighted that GHIB is delivering this program here in Liberia."
However, Ghana International Bank has over fifty years presence in the heart of the city of London, the world's leading financial center. Incorporated in the United Kingdom in 1998 to take over the operations of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), GHIB is unique in that it is Ghanaian owned bank licensed by the UK Prudential Regulatory Authority.
The Central Bank of Ghana is the major shareholder (51%) while Ghana Commercial Bank has a 20% stake and the remainder of the shares is held by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (15%), Agricultural Development Bank (9%) and SIC Insurance Company of Ghana (5%). Commenting on the opening, The Senior Manager of GHIB Mr. Mark F. Arthur said:
"We are a bank with a difference - a city of London Bank with our feet firmly planted in Africa. We understand the needs of people and businesses in our part of the world. We combine a rapidly growing footprint across the continent with international expertise and correspondent links to all major global financial institutions. It is this rich unique experience that we want to share with the business community we are creating. We are therefore a bank of first choice when it comes to doing commercial business between Africa and the rest of the world."
GHIB therefore focuses on four key areas: international trade finance, correspondent and corporate banking, treasury services and transactional banking services. Its operations are geared towards supporting the economies of African countries that it does business in. The bank delivers banking services designed by people who understand the needs of the continent and provides a bridge to the banking institutions in Africa. For organizations doing business in Africa it is thus a gateway to the global financial system, providing access and expertise, capital and extensive cross border capabilities.
According to Mr. Arthur the bank's exposure in the region has been growing rapidly and is currently in excess of 300 million pounds. The growth in GHIB's Pan African operations, according to Mr. Arthur, is reflected in the surge in both the bank's balance sheet that has more than doubled in the past ten years and its pre-tax profits which has increased some fivefold during the same period.
Mr. Arthur further told the members of the press during a press conference that GHIB has a total asset base in excess of US$1 billion and is considered a top tier bank in London market in terms of profitability and operational efficiency.