Demerara Bank celebrates 25 years, CEO says net income exceeds $2.1 billion
Demerara Bank – Guyana’s first indigenous bank – celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown on Saturday night with shareholders, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the private sector and employees.
In his address to the gathering, Chief Executive Officer Pravinchandra Dave said that over the last three years the bank has experienced consistently high growth in net profit.
“Over the 25 years period, average growth on net profit was 32.6% whilst the last 10 years average growth was 11.3%. This year the net profit of the bank exceeded $2.1 billion while the gross profit exceeds $3.4 billion,” the CEO said.
The CEO said there is a 20.8% growth in investment while an increase in loans and growth in total deposits over the 25 years was 19.1%; the bank also added value to shareholders.
“Dividend payment was $1.40 in 2019 compared to $0.50 in 2010,” the CEO said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Yesu Persaud recalled that he recognised the need for local financial services and applied for a banking license in 1986, but it was declined.
Dr Persaud was not defeated and teamed up with friends and colleagues and was granted the license in 1993.
“Over the years I have been responsible for a number of development and ideas, all of which is successful,” Dr Persaud said.
Demerara Bank employs over 200 persons and has seven branches in Rose Hall, Corriverton, Anna Regina, Diamond and Georgetown along with nine ATM locations.
“Indeed our bank has come a long way from zero to one that I hope it does…is to overtake all the others, that is our aspiration we want to be number one,” Dr Persaud said.
Importantly, Dr Persaud noted that it is the people that matter. He told the audience that if they do not have the best people beside them especially in manufacturing, they will not succeed.
“We were the first company to hire women directors, we were told at the time that we were mad, we knew we were mad because we select the best, they had the best education and those girls are still with us and they are really big troopers.”
However, Dr Persaud noted that it was challenging to form an indigenous bank without assistance from international institutions.
One of the founding Directors at the bank, Komal Samaroo during brief remarks said the bank stimulated investment and economic accumulation, particularly to the rice and forestry sectors.
“I think over the years this bank has done very well to expand the private sector and give the sector an opportunity to grow.
“The bank introduced a number of first, it was the first bank in the country that had an online ATM, it was the bank that introduced a point of sale system, it was the bank that introduced export trade financing.”
Going forward Demerara Bank will be reviewing strategies to benefit from opportunities that exist in the oil and gas industry. The bank will also continue to adopt new technologies and introduce new banking platforms and is also cognizant of payment through smartphones.
However, it was noted while the bank is planning to implement strategies in smart phone banking, the availability of fast and reliable internet service is a major hurdle.
Demarara Bank in 2016 became one of the first fully solar-powered commercial buildings in Guyana. This initiative was also implemented at three other locations.
Since then, the bank has been able to reduce electricity cost by an average of $55 million over the last three years.