TALKING ABOUT DR. EKUNDAYO GILPIN AND ROKEL BANK

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By Amin Kef Sesay

I read an article that was recently published by one of the local tabloids in this country with the caption “Promoting Cronies…

Rokel Bank’s MD Frustrates Staff”. The article was extensively discussed by media analysts who asserted that the story was not well researched and as a matter of fact it smacks of a calculated ploy to drag to the mud the reputable name of one of Sierra Leone’s most celebrated bankers and administrators in the person of the Managing Director of the Rokel Commercial Bank, Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin and by extension portray the bank in a very negative light.

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that since his appointment as the Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, that financial institution has been undergoing various positive transformations to the admiration of many. 

It was attested and known by many that a once almost dysfunctional financial institution was quickly injected with a new lease of life by a renowned banker in the person of Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin whom it was learnt highly believes in team work. Under his dynamic and astute leadership, the Rokel Commercial Bank commendably, over the years, has been championing the clarion call by the Bank of Sierra Leone for financial inclusion.

Another feat which the bank has well accomplished, with rapidity is the Bank’s expansion to reach remote settlements still with the objective of availing many Sierra Leoneans access to financial services. It has been accepted that the launching of the Rokel Simkorpor product by Dr Gilpin’s RCBank was indeed a milestone in the bank’s strides to promote financial inclusion and was a response to President Bio’s clarion call to expand financial services and rural connectivity to unbanked and undeserved communities.

The Rokel Simkorpor plus product is a mobile application designed to take banking to the doorsteps of customers and it was designed after a survey that disclosed that low level of education, long queues at the bank, bureaucracy were largely responsible for the low number of people accessing financial services.

Its advantages are many as it can be used by customers to carry out banking transactions without going to the bank. Also known as mobile digital banking, it can be used for all banking services including making withdrawals, do deposits, pay for goods and services, check balances, do transfers from one Rokel Commercial bank account to another and from one Rokel Commercial bank account to another bank and buy EDSA credit. 

Under his watch, we have seen the bank open a number of new branches and outlets in Kabala, Kailahun District, SLRSA, FBC, Wilberforce Barracks, and Wilkinson Road  (for Lumley customers and the environs). Two of these branches  were recently commissioned by the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, and other high profiled personalities in the banking sector and from other walks of life.

Most of them commended the transformative drive that the bank is going through attributing those to the Managing Director’s leadership style.

It looks quite interesting to read that because the Managing Director is yearning for another job that is why he has transformed himself into a “petty tyrant” at Rokel Commercial Bank. But the question that begs for an urgent answer, is how can the Managing Director’s tyrannical moves help him in any way to secure a new job more than his rich curriculum vitae and transformative work at RCBank ?

The footprints of the bank is also noticeable in the development of smaller business in the country which is seen in the bank’s sensitization drives to trading communities with the objective of educating business people on the merits of banking with Rokel Commercial Bank.  

It must be reiterated that for the writer to state that Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin is projecting himself more than the bank does not make any iota of sense. If he is on official assignments then, as Managing Director, he is representing the bank. But it will be far from the truth that the Managing Director is the only person that is representing the bank outside when in actual fact other officials of the bank are performing their responsibilities according to their job specifications. But what is really ridiculous was when it was stated that Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin is projecting himself because he is eyeing another job.

The example given of the promotion of female staff recently, who had taken three years in the institution, whilst ignoring those who had worked for years and are au fait with the operations of the bank and qualified to be promoted indicates that Dr Gilpin May have an eye for talents.  Our research indicates that Dr Gilpin and team have promoted several older serving staff members since taking office in 2017.

It a well-known fact that corporate institutions have departments and positions that are controlled by various individuals based on his or her job description. The Rokel Commercial Bank is no exception. It has the Human Resources Department which primarily deals with matters relating to staffing. It plays an active role in recruitment processes, promotions, transfers, retirement and other related matters. 

It could only be a figment of the writer’s imagination to maliciously accuse the bank’s Managing Director, Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin, of singlehandedly promoting his cronies according to his whims and caprices and side stepping the Head of Human Resources at the bank.  

What again is very childish about the publication is when it was mentioned that Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin is a staunch APC supporter. One can sense where the writer is coming from. 

He woefully failed in making the point that the Managing Director belongs to the opposition party by trying to create the impression that he is doing thing that are geared towards undermining the ruling SLPP Government. 

The million dollar question is: where is the correlation between Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin’s political leaning and his hardworking stance as Managing Director of the Rokel Commercial Bank?  In fact, he is seen by many as a National Asset, whose service any political dispensation will be proud to utilise.

From what have been seen and heard so far, within the corridors of the Rokel Commercial Bank, the morale of members of staff is really high.

This was vividly seen when the bank celebrated its founding anniversary and in other engagements in which majority of its members of staff actively participated.

But what again baffled many is to question the Managing Director’s doctorate degree. For those who know Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin, they will attest that he is an academic dinosaur who has darkened the doors of various academic institutions in Africa, Europe and USA . He is not only competent but truly deserves a doctorate degree as he consciously enrolled for the course and successfully completed it.  In fact, our research shows that he has several qualifications- degrees, diplomas, certificates and four PhDs two academic and two honoris causa. This reflects a mark of esteem for his contributions in economics, public finance management, business administration and public policy. 

Though not a saint, Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin has said many times that nothing will deter him from translating his dreams into tangible initiatives that will positively impact overall national development.

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