September 28, 2022

A new partnership between two leading institutions in the telecoms and banking industries, Orange Sierra Leone and Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB) has been established to ease Orange Money and banking transactions. The partnership will facilitate the transfer of money from Orange Money Wallet to Rokel Bank Account.

Through the new partnership, a customer who owns and operates an Orange Money and a Rokel Bank Accounts would find it easy to transfer ad save money in either of the two. The ceremony for the establishment of the new partnership took place at the RCB new branch in Juba community, west of Freetown.

Before the new partnership was officially launched, an official of Orange Sierra Leone, Abibatu Boxter explains the process a customer has to go through to enjoy the service.

Mrs Boxter explained that the service could be accessed through the USSD Code #144#.

A customer can select 1 to link with the bank account and 2 to see the list of bank partners and subscribe, select the bank among our bank partners and then enter the Orange Money Code which should not exceed four digits.

After such steps, she said, the customer would receive the activation key by SMS. Pressing 6 would confirm that the Orange Money would have been received.

“A customer has 30 minutes to complete the process,” she said.

A customer, she says, who owns an Orange Money and RCB accounts could transfer as low as Le 10, 000 (Ten Thousand Leones) and as much as Le15, 000, 000 (Fifteen Million Leones). Mrs Boxter also told the audience that the linkage is free of cost adding that there must be no inconsistency in a customer’s personal details especially the name of a customer.

“If a customer gives a name that is different from the original name in the bank account, there will be no linkage,” she said.

The new service, she says, makes it possible to pay services where RCB does not own and operate a branch. She however says the service is  not free, but reasonable.

“A price of Le550 for Le15, 000 and Le15, 000 for Le150, 000, and 000 could be charged,” the official said. The new service has made RCB queueless and the country cashless as a customer does not need to carry bulky sum of money where ever they go.

Speaking during the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Orange Money, David Mansaray expressed excitement for celebrating the new partnership adding that it is a “win-win situation.”

He said the new service would impact customers in diverse ways, ensure quality service, improve the bottom line [profit] and enhance access to more customers.

Mr. Mansaray said the new partnership between the two institutions was about financial inclusion noting that it would not be the only service.

“The two institutions will explore avenues for digital lending, investment opportunities and other services in the future,” he assured. The Orange Money CEO made reference to a recently published report that labeled Orange Sierra Leone and RCB as the top two institutions in the country.

“Orange Sierra Leone is the leading company in the telecoms industry and Rokel Commercial Bank the first bank in the banking industry,” he said.

Mansaray also touched on the benefits the two institutions stand to derive from the new partnership. Out of the partnership, the Orange Money CEO went on, Rokel Bank stood to benefit greatly especially in terms of liquidity.

“Where a customer needs money from the bank at a time the bank does not have the money, the customer can easily place the amount in his Orange Money wallet and cash it out with any Orange Money agent,” he explained.

The Orange Money CEO also told journalists that in December last year, the Orange Money service recorded 1, 000, 000 (one million) customers noting that those customers would add to the customer base of Rokel Bank.

Apart from RCB’s tremendous increase in its number of customers, the banks, he said, would be free from the long queues.

Orange Sierra Leone as well as the agents operating Orange Money service benefit from the new partnership. He said Orange Sierra Leone had 9, 000 agents working in the most remote end of the country.

The Orange Money CEO also does not lose sight of how the new partnership would benefit the country in terms of financial inclusion. He said Sierra Leone had been rated as the least in terms of financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa,

“The Country has been rated at 42%,” he revealed. He however disclosed that Sierra Leone had recently recorded a 30% improvement in financial inclusion. While commending the technical staff for for their commitment and hard work that made the partnership possible, he also assured Sierra Leoneans that the two institutions would ensure a continuity of the service.

He described the journey for the realisation of the new partnership as a tough and rugged one but added that all is well that ended well. He however noted that it marked the beginning of a long and prosperous journey with opportunities for expansion.

In his contribution, the Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, Dr Walter Gilpin said the new partnership was a fundamental step towards digital banking. The Managing director believes that through hard work and perseverance, they would surely reach their destination.

“A 1, 000-mile journey begins with a step. We are moving and as long as we don’t stop moving, we will get there,” the RCB Managing Director expressed hope.

Mr Gilpin also saw the establishment of the new partnership as an era of digitalisation adding that there would be more funds and revenue for government. He also believes that with the new partnership, the vicious cycle of debts and deficit banking would be a thing of the past.

He said the new partnership would trigger other important sectors of the economy especially SME financing, Agriculture, Insurance among others. He also believed that the new partnership would bring about a positive turn around in the financial inclusion rating for Sierra Leone.

“We can change the financial statistics for Sierra Leone’s financial inclusion. It is time for Sierra Leone to move from being the low among the lowest countries in terms of financial inclusion,” the Managing Director expressed determination.

Mr Gilpin also re-echoed the recent standardisation and perception rating that categorised Rokel Bank and Orange Sierra Leone as the two leading institutions in the telecoms and banking industries. In his keynote address, Chairman for RCB Board of Directors, Buffy Bailor says Rokel Bank is on the trajectory of the number one in the banking industry.

The RCB Chairman reminded the audience that today’s world is one of innovation, a statement that further espoused the importance of digital banking. Chairman Bailor did not rule out challenges in terms of technology and connectivity, but he believed that “rough seas made good captains.”

He assured the public that the marriage between Orange Sierra Leone and Rokel Bank would work.