Rokel Commercial Bank (formerly Barclays Bank) was established in 1917 as Barclays Bank DCO with 100% shares owned by Barclays.

In 1971 it was incorporated locally and renamed Barclays Bank of Sierra Leone Limited with 25% shares owned by Sierra Leoneans and 75% by the British.  The rationale behind this was to encourage Sierra Leoneans to show maximum interest and confidence in the Bank.

Basic banking services (i.e. Savings and Current Accounts, Foreign Exchange, Bills for Collection, Safe Custody etc.) were provided since the Bank was established across the country.  The Bank had a network of 16 branches in various areas of the country until 1992.

As a result of the intensification of the rebel war the Bank shrunk in size to one Bank / Branch in April 1998.

On 17th September 1999, Barclays Bank Plc which was the majority shareholder (60% shares) withdrew from its operations in Sierra Leone after extensive discussions with the Government. 

The Bank after consultations with the Government was renamed Rokel Commercial Bank (Sierra Leone) Limited.  The Government of Sierra Leone now holds 51% shares, 40% shares owned by institutions, private bodies, organizations, individuals and 9% owned by staff under the employee share incentive scheme.

In addition Barclays agreed to provide management of the Bank for an initial period of one year and correspondent banking relationship.

Apart from the traditional banking services offered, the bank has made the following achievements in terms of its services and branch network since the inception of Rokel on 17th September 1999:-

1.                  Automated Teller Machine (ATMs) services were launched on 16th November 2001.  Presently, we have five ATMs in five of our branches.

2.                  Wide Area Network (WAN) Connectivity was introduced in December 2001.  All our branches are now linked via Satellite Connectivity.

3.                  Rokel became part of the SWIFT (i.e. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) Network in September 2002.

4.                  Internet Banking introduced in February 2004

The Bank has 345 members of staff and is presently headed by the second Sierra Leonean Managing Director, Mr. Victor Keith Cole.  It has a management team of 35 Senior Members of staff.

The Board is headed by a Chairman, supported by 5 Non Executive Directors, it meets regularly to advise on policy matters and approve limits, expenditures outside the Managing Director’s discretion.