[www.inewsguyana.com] – Demerara Bank Limited has opened its seventh branch, located at Lot 214 Camp Street.
The $800M facility will now be the Bank’s new head office and Corporate Banking Branch. At the official ceremony on Saturday, November 21, Chairman of the Bank, Dr. Yesu Persaud underscored the need for the use of technology for the development of the economy.
“I still believe that we have people in Guyana who can really transform this place with the help of some of the larger western countries… and I see the day when we will have the help and the technology that we need,” he said.
Reminding those gathered that Guyana is a place rich with natural resources, Dr. Persaud said more citizens need to venture into initiatives that will aid in community building.
He added that Demerara Bank, being Guyana’s only indigenous bank, is committed to playing its part in building the local economy.
On November 12, 1994, Dr. Yesu Persaud established Demerara Bank Limited, but the idea had been conceived since in the late sixties. Though it was incorporated on January 20, 1992, it was granted its license to operate in March 1994.
Construction of the Bank commenced that very month and on November 12, 1994 it was declared open by the late President of Guyana, Dr. Cheddi B. Jagan. The establishment of Demerara Bank was seen as the beginning of another chapter in Guyanese history, since it was the first private sector indigenous bank.
Meanwhile, also delivering remarks was Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, who commended the bank for its efforts in adopting a modern approach to energy conservation through the employ of energy efficient devices.
Minister Jordan noted that the approach taken by the bank as it relates to the building techniques used will translate into reduced electricity bills and a smaller carbon footprint.
The Minister also underscored the need for financial inclusion, which he said must include all sections of society and more importantly hinterland areas.
“The large dependence of the poor on non-traditional sources of access to credit cannot be overcome without improved access of the poor to financial intermediation,” the Minister pointed out.
Also delivering remarks was President David Granger, who said his government is prepared to partner with all financial institutions to implement appropriate policy measures, to promote greater financial inclusion.
In outlining his administration’s vision for the local banking sector, the President first acknowledged the fact that Guyana’s financial system was not spared the implosions of face by financial institutions in other parts of the region. Specific reference was made to Globe Trust Investment Company and CLICO.
These instances, the President said, clearly signaled the need for continued vigilance in the way local banking systems are regulated and managed.
“Our government proposes the strengthening of the regulatory and supervisory capacity of the Bank of Guyana. The collapse underscored the need to safeguard deposits and investments in the eventuality of institutional failure. Our Government proposes to discuss with bankers the implementation of a Deposit Insurance Scheme to ensure that individuals who hold deposits at failed financial institutions would be compensated up to an agreed amount, within a specified timeline,” the President said.
On the issue of integrity, President Granger pointed out that there is the need for commercial banks to zealously guard against illicit funds finding their way into the financial system.
“Money-laundering is associated with distortionary effects on an economy. Illicit funds can undermine the integrity of the country’s financial system, thereby exposing the country to sanctions,” he asserted.
Equally important for the financial sector, the President said, is for banks and depositors to be safe from crime and fraud.
“Cash transactions are still too prevalent. Persons are still moving around with large amounts of cash, thus exposing themselves to robbery,” President Granger said.
He added that banking institutions can help to reduce the high incidence of cash transactions in the economy by developing appropriate instruments for the benefit of the populace and by encouraging their clients to make use of these instruments.