Sod turned for $150M Demerara Bank branch at Leonora

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Demerara Bank Limited (DBL) is looking to expand its portfolio with the establishment of a new branch in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) that will serve thousands of residents in surrounding communities.

The new branch, to be located at Leonora, West Coast Demerara (WCD), will be a modern facility that is solar-powered, and construction is expected to last approximately 18 months. Preliminary preparatory works have been done on the land, and the bank is currently tendering for a contractor.

Chief Executive Officer of Demerara Bank Limited, Pravinchandra Dave, has said that extensive research was conducted on the location for the new branch, and it was found that thousands of customers would benefit from the facility, once completed.

“If you look at the location of the branch, it is going to serve around 7500 people in this area. There is a big housing development which is going to take place… This branch, which we are going to open here, will be a very modern branch. Name any facility you can get at the branch in Georgetown, and you will get it here,” he stated at the ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday.

According to Dave, Demerara Bank is on a path of transforming and enhancing customer experience at all levels. Top among these is removing the time it takes and all the documentation required to open new accounts. He explained that the bank’s online facility makes this process easy.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the DBL Board of Directors, Komal Samaroo, has posited that the banking institution is taking a lead role in financing priority sectors of Guyana’s economy, such as farming and housing.

The Leonora branch would increase the bank’s portfolio to nine branches across the country, and according to Samaroo, the financial institution is continuously upgrading its technological infrastructure in order to deliver services in a modern and efficient manner.
“We are modernising the way banking is done in Guyana, taking it to the First World standards. We will continue to respond to the needs of our customers, introducing new products and services, embracing the growth of our customers’ business, and (bring about) improvement in the quality of life of Guyanese,” he noted.

Present at Thursday’s sod-turning ceremony was President Dr Irfaan Ali, who commended Demerara Bank for its proactive and innovative way of developing not only the institution, but the country as a whole.

“We are looking at ways in which we can work with the local banking sector in a more innovative way… Moving here also shows that you are actively working in sync with the development agenda of the country and the Government,” President Ali noted.

The Head of State reiterated that the region is pegged for massive development, and this would be reflected in Leonora, where a multi-million-dollar mall complex is under construction as well as a hospital being upgraded. These, along with construction of the Demerara Bank branch, would create thousands of jobs, both in the short and long terms.
“So, I have no doubt that this investment will be successful; that this investment, with everything else that is happening around here, will create a modern economic hub that will generate thousands of jobs,” the President stated.

He further highlighted the necessity of such a banking institution, especially given the housing and infrastructure development pegged for the area, which would open up thousands of acres of new lands.

President Ali disclosed that there are currently some 14,000 housing applications from Region Three in the system, and approximately half of those are from Leonora and surrounding areas. This, he noted, would require some 1,500 acres of land to meet the needs of those 7,000 applicants.

Moreover, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh stated that the bank could not have chosen a better time to embark on a path of transformation and modernisation of its services and facilities. He contended that such transformation must also be felt in customer experience.
Additionally, the Finance Minister underscored the need for the banking sector to not just be a bystander or beneficiary of the country’s growth, but an active participant and contributor.