Issue 12 2020

Bringing Best in Class Banking Services to Sierra Leone It would be an understatement to say that banking was a competitive environment to operate in. Newcomers have to quickly find ways to mark themselves as fundamentally different to their competitors in order to flourish. As Corporate Vision’s ‘Most Outstanding Commercial Bank in Sierra Leone’, Rokel Commercial Bank has certainly showcased an exceptional dedication to the customer experience. We spoke with the Rokel’s Millicent Cole to find out more about its services and expertise. The banking industry is, by all regards, a global goliath. Yet, as we’ve seen numerous times over the last two decades, smaller banks are seeing an intense period of growth through an unrivalled dedication to client centricity. Innovating where old brick and mortar stalwarts stale, too large to swiftly jump on the ever-changing needs of its customers, these newer, more agile banks are shaping the very future of the industry. By every definition, Rokel Commercial Bank fits that mould. Specialising in wholesale and retail banking, Rokel was founded to provide future- proof financial services across Sierra Leone, as Millicent explains in her opening comments. “Ultimately, our core values and central mission haven’t changed since our establishment. We aim to build strong, long-lasting and satisfying relationships with customers, employees, shareholders and the communities in which the bank operates.” “Our core values are - Customer First, Dedication, Continuous Improvement, Openness, Initiative, Integrity, and Teamwork.” - Millicent Cole These core values have made Rokel the fastest growing bank in Sierra Leone and firmly reinforcing its position as a brand name to trust for those looking for a bank that values their sincerely custom. After all, client-centricity is where Rokel looked to distinguish itself, and where it continues to distinguish itself to this day. Few banks on the greater African continent, let alone Sierra Leone itself, can rival the client-based culture that Rokel has nurtured over the years. Millicent firmly believes that this alone has secured Rokel’s enduring success, and certainly offers a cornerstone for further success in the future. “One of our focus areas is in ensuring that the customer always feels valued, and always comes first. Our staff are essential to this and, naturally, are drivers for all of our values. Our staff ensure that we continuously improve and are dedicated to our customer’s satisfaction with our institution.” Millicent is keen to emphasise Rokel’s culture and team from the outset, as she continues “Our institution has a loyal and dedicated work force committed to serving its numerous customers. It also has a strong management team that is among the very best in the industry. We aim to recruit those that have the best skills on the market, so we can maintain our high standard of service. Rokel’s culture relies on hiring people that add value to the greater business.” But it would be remiss to gloss over the challenges that Rokel have faced since its inception, and especially with consideration to the constant technological advancement that has occurred on the greater banking landscape. Client expectations are constantly changing, and banks of all sizes are having to change to accommodate. For Millicent and Rokel in particular, the challenges have been less on the client facing front, and more of a fact of operating in the financial sphere. “One of the largest issues we’ve faced is that of non-performing loans and advances. We quickly realised that we needed to re-position ourselves to curb further occurrences and get ahead of the game in that regard – to bring it to minimal levels. However, that challenge is far from unique to our institution, and many of our competitors are also constrained in this area.” Yet, with this problem handled, Rokel is seeking to capitalise on the goodwill of its client base by expanding its digital options, as Millicent describes in her closing comments. “The future for Rokel lies entirely in the digitalisation of our operations. We want to ensure we stay contemporary, and that our customer enjoy a flexible, convenient and personal way of transacting business with us.” Rokel’s future, then, seems destined to be one of refinement, as it continues to improve its customer experience and demarcate itself from competitors in the region. With its focus on client-centricity, it remains the de facto banking leader in Sierra Leone, and the obvious choice for recognition in the Corporate Excellence programme. Rokel Commercial Bank Ltd Contact: Millicent Cole Telephone: +23276660415 Website: Nov20413