Mrs Angela Leibel, Deputy Managing Director of Bayport Ghana, received the Outstanding Leadership in Microfinance Award in Ghana’s first National Women in Finance Awards. In this interview with James Mante, Bayport Micro’s Marketing Manager, Angela talks about herself, the unsecured lending industry and her dreams for Bayport Ghana.
What does the award mean to you personally, and why is it significant for Bayport Ghana?
The award demonstrates that with the right goals, training, attitude and environment, any woman can achieve great heights in leadership and have a positive impact on society. It showcases Bayport Ghana as an employer that believes in women empowerment and creates the environment for its female employees to succeed.
Why are you passionate about finance in general and microfinance in particular?
I have seen first-hand how access to finance, no matter how small the amount, can improve the livelihood of families and society in general, when it is properly deployed in economic activity. Customer testimonials confirm to me on a daily basis how, through my work at Bayport, many homes are positively impacted. These stories fuel my passion to do even more. Believe me, it is humbling to see parents, who once could not pay for their wards to attend school, now able to do so. It is fulfilling to see the positive impact of economic and social activity generated in communities simply because Bayport Ghana “sowed the seed”. Finally, most people wrongly believe that microfinance institutions stay small and are unprofitable. I have seen microfinance institutions, such as UT Bank and K-rep Bank, grow from “Mom & Pop shops” to commercial banks.
How did you get involved in the microfinance industry?
In 1999, I worked on a United Nations Development Programme project called “Microstart Ghana” that reviewed the operations of selected microfinance institutions, including rural banks. We looked at their micro-lending products and the impact they had on businesses and individuals. Those with the best business practices were recommended for a grant for onward lending and capacity building. A year later I was asked to work on the project again and I’ve been involved in the sector ever since.
What is your role at Bayport Ghana?
As the Deputy Managing Director I look after the interests of our key stakeholders. This includes creating
shareholder value, staying attuned to our customers’ needs and meeting statutory obligations. One of my
priorities is helping our Bayporteers to be ready to make a difference every day, The Bayport Way.
What is your dream for Bayport Ghana?
Hmm…strange that you should ask! I have written it down in detail in my little prayer request book. Here is
a summary: I dream of a company with local and international repute, which leads the financial sector and is a true
household name in Ghana. I dream of Bayporteers who are proud of their company and display a general “Ubuntu” spirit, and an organisational culture where everybody gives their best and rallies round our strategic objectives.
Finally, I dream of a company with happy customers who boast about the services they receive.
Tell us about your career history, family, hobbies and interests, role models.
I come from a family of six and am the third of four siblings. My parents are still alive and have been married for 57 years. I am married to Gilbert and we have nine kids, our foster kids included. I am thankful to God that I have a wonderful and very supportive family. I have been with Bayport for nine years. Prior to that, I worked in the leasing industry with LEASAFRIC. I have also worked on World Bank-funded projects, namely the Non-Performing Asset Recovery Trust (NPART ) in Uganda and Ghana. My role models are generally selfless people and I am inspired by the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. My parents are my immediate role models. My hobbies are reading, listening to classical music, grooming and mentoring kids.
What message do you have for women in Bayport Ghana and in the financial services industry?
The task we have set ourselves in this industry transforms lives, households and communities. We are change agents and give meaning to life by putting smiles on the faces of our staff and customers. Our guiding principle should be to do whatever we do to the best of our abilities as if we are doing it unto our maker, who has given us the gift of life, and not unto men. With hard work, discipline, commitment and the right attitude, the sky will be the starting point. Remember to consciously strive to make a difference every day – The Bayport Way.