Remarks by Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne at the opening of the SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited
August 12, 2019
Remarks by Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne
Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning
Opening of SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited
Monday July 12, 2019
Venue: Allied Plaza Building, Francis Rachel Street
Chairman of SBM Holdings Limited, Mr Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing,
First Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Seychelles, Mr. Christophe Edmond,
Management and Staff of SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to be afforded the opportunity to say a few words as we mark the opening of SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited, the newest commercial bank to join the local banking sector. Let me start by extending my warmest congratulations.
I am conscious that it has not been a seamless journey since being issued with a banking licence by the Central Bank of Seychelles in December 2016. Nevertheless, all of the efforts invested have culminated into the product we are seeing today.
Seychelles and Mauritius are sister islands, enjoying a long history of cooperation in a number of fields including tourism, health, trade and undoubtedly financial services. SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited, a subsidiary of the Mauritian financial group, SBM Holdings Limited, is in fact the second bank having its parent company based in the neighbouring island, to set up business in Seychelles.
Already present in other countries in the region, SBM Holdings Limited boasts over 4 decades of experience in offering both banking and non-banking financial services. It is therefore anticipated that adding Seychelles to your diversified base of operations regionally, will contribute towards the further development of the local banking sector and the entire financial system, as well as the broader economy.
The opening of SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited brings to nine the number of commercial banks currently operating in our financial system. For Seychelles, being a small country in terms of size and population, this underlines the fact that we have a healthy economy and a thriving financial services sector; one which is expanding to provide greater access to a wide range of banking services and facilities that are vital to facilitate the conduct of financial transactions, provide access to funding opportunities particularly to businesses, including small and medium enterprises, and to enhance financial inclusion, among other benefits. The provision of diverse facilities to customers and the availability of more choices can only help to create a more favourable and competitive environment to further develop the local banking sector.
Last year, Seychelles economy remained resilient and recorded positive growth. The service sector, mainly Tourism, Finance, Transport and Communications led the growth, expanding by 5.4% up from 5.3% in 2017. For 2019, economic growth is projected to be 3.5%, with the service sector again remaining the primary driver of growth with a vibrant Tourism and growing Fishery sectors. Thus, the business opportunities in our country are immense and our banks have to be key strategic partners.
I am hopeful that SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited will join the other existing institutions in contributing significantly in the intermediation processes and ensure that businesses and individuals alike benefit from diversified access to products and services, including modern banking facilities, particularly as we endeavour to get onboard the Fintech train.
As the Minister responsible for Finance, I would like to highlight the government’s desire to see financial institutions assisting in the expansion and modernisation of the country’s financial services sector, and ultimately, contributing towards economic growth and supporting our participation in the global financial market.
So my message today is to strive to make a positive difference quickly and effectively.
On this note, I would like to congratulate the SBM Group on the setting up of their new business in Seychelles. I would also like to wish the Management and Staff of SBM Bank (Seychelles) Limited every success in this new endeavour.
I thank you for your kind attention.