Demerara Bank Limited on Saturday opened the doors to its new $800 Million headquarters on Camp Street in Georgetown, with a call by President David Granger for commercial banks to continue to guard against fraud and money laundering.
In his speech at the opening of the new banking facility, President Granger said Commercial banks must continue to “zealously guard against illicit funds finding their way into the financial system”.
He said money-laundering is associated with distortionary effects on an economy and illicit funds can undermine the integrity of the country’s financial system and expose the country to sanctions.
“One of the first acts of our government was to pass Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act. Our Government remains committed to doing everything necessary to remain compliant with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). We look forward to the vigilance of commercial banks and our regulatory bodies to prevent the contamination of our financial system with ‘dirty’ money”, the President said.
Mr. Granger said commercial banks and depositors must also be safe from crime and fraud adding that cash transactions are still too prevalent in the Guyanese society. According to the President “persons are still moving around with large amounts of cash thus exposing themselves to robbery. Our banking institutions can help in reducing the high incidence of cash transactions in the economy by developing appropriate instruments for the benefit of the populace and by encouraging their clients to make use of these instruments.”
The President also used the occasion to encourage Demerara Bank and other commercial banks to lend more assistance to the agriculture and manufacturing sectors through investment.
He said commercial banks must shed their over-cautiousness towards investments in agriculture, infrastructure and manufacturing enterprises and projects.
The President praised the expansion of Demerara Bank as a step in the right direction.
Officials of the bank explained that the construction of the new facility was done within 18 months and was in response to the congestion of the other South Road and Camp Street location. Chairman of the Bank, Yesu Persaud reminded that Demerara Bank was one of the first Guyanese owned banks.
The company has promised to continue pushing its development projects forward.