Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh yesterday cut the ceremonial ribbon to declare open the newest branch of Citizens Bank, on Republic Avenue, Linden.
On hand to witness the occasion were senior executives of the Bank’s main branch, including the Chairman Clifford Reis, managing Director Eton Chester, and special invitees.
Director Eton Chester declared, “This opening of our Linden Branch not only fulfills our strategic objective of expanding our branch network to communities around Guyana to serve an expanding customer base, but also it represents a significant milestone on a journey that commenced on November 7, 1994.
That journey commenced with the establishment of our main branch and has taken us to Parika, Bartica, Thirst Park, and now, the important mining town of Linden. Like at our other locations, our new branch here will provide our customers with better access to a suite of products and services.
“This expansion is in keeping with our continuous commitment to ensure that all our products and services are within easy reach of our clients, both existing and potential.
Chester pointed out that the Bank will provide the full range of products and services offered by Citizens Bank Guyana Inc.
“(These include) retail and savings accounts including our jackpot, junior savers and golden grand accounts, current/checking accounts, certificate of deposit, consumer financing for the purchase of motor vehicle and residential mortgages, including special low income mortgages, and home equity loans.”
Commercial and corporate clients will have access to deposit products including checking accounts, money market accounts; excel saving accounts and investments accounts.
Clients who qualify will have access to commercial loans. Other services include foreign currency transactions, 24-hour ATM service, night deposit and safety deposit boxes, payroll service, and soon to be launched e-banking service.
He underscored the fact that banking in Guyana is sustainable and operates in an enabling environment. “It is my firm belief that the growth of banking often is indicative of growth in the economy.
“We at Citizens Bank have always placed much emphasis on our human resources which we view as a key asset and have contributed significantly to our growth and success. Today, I am delighted to introduce to you the newest members of our family- the staff of our Linden Branch.”
Chairman Clifford Reis noted that there are persons who would question the wisdom of establishing another commercial bank in Linden, and those who see the glass as half empty rather than half full, when considering Linden and its future, and still others who yearn for the past glory days, when our country was ranked third in the list of suppliers of chemical grade bauxite.
He then declared, “We are not in the business of being pessimistic, and optimism needs to be tempered with reality. The potential of which we speak needs to be considered within the framework of the mechanisms that need to be put in place for that potential to be realized.
He said that Citizens Bank will work with residents to help enable the realization of their vision for themselves and the community.
He quipped, “Dreams will not come through until we wake up and go to work,” a quotation which he pointed out was appropriate for the occasion.
Reis noted that the Bank considered its role in Linden as one that will facilitate dreams to be realized, but the vision requires us to be awake, for the harsh reality of life reminds us that there are no free lunches.
He added that the Bureau of Statistics data indicate levels of unemployment and underemployment which can be considered from two perspectives, firstly as a disadvantage to the meaningful development or from the perspective that there is an abundant source of skilled, semi skilled and unskilled labour available to support the rapid development of Linden.
Considering the future prospects and possibilities in Linden, its difficult not to be excited about what’s possible given the right conditions and circumstances, he pointed out.
Linden’s geographical location and its potential, and what it means for trade, could not be understated, Reis asserted.
Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh said that it is important that Linden become more than a bauxite town.
He spoke of the fibre optic cable that is to pass through the town, and the opportunities and “waves of growth” that will accrue as a result.
He declared that he was sure that the investment by Citizen’s Bank was made because of the bank’s optimism in the economic growth of Linden and Region Ten.
Citizen’s Bank, with its headquarters in Georgetown has assets of $34.4 billion, and presently serves a customer base of more than 28,300.
The Linden Branch opens at 8:00hrs today to the general public. Lindeners have expressed their happiness at the opening of the new bank (Enid Joaquin)
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