Troubador Banking - Ghana and Biafra to Bermuda

Released: 28/06/2019

ISBN: 9781789017922

eISBN: 9781838599591

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Banking - Ghana and Biafra to Bermuda

A Dozen Countries in Fifty Years


Calum Johnston commenced his banking career in Scotland, at the age of seventeen, at a time when the duties of a ‘boy’ in the bank included sweeping the floor and mixing the powder to make ink for the counter ink wells. In this volume he recounts banking practices long since forgotten. Remarkably, the author became a bank manager in the Gold Coast at the age of twenty-one. After moving to Nigeria he experienced the Biafra civil war during which he was arrested at gun point and interrogated more than once, having previously evacuated his family and other bank wives and children to the safety of Lagos. 

After joining a Canadian bank, the author worked on Wall Street, established the bank’s first office in Hong Kong, managed branches in Malaysia and Jamaica and was responsible for lending throughout the Caribbean and Canada. For eleven years he was responsible for his bank’s operations in over forty countries. After retiring Johnston was appointed President and CEO of a bank in Bermuda where he and his team produced outstanding results. He finished his working life in St. Maarten in the Caribbean

The book was published on 28 June 2019 and is now available from Matador or on and

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Calum Johnston

I became a bank clerk in Scotland in 1953 at the age of 17. Today, some of the tasks I was required to perform would be considered unusual. After 2 years in the Royal Highland Regiment The Black Watch, where I became a sergeant, I joined the Bank of British West Africa and was a bank manager 'up-country' by age 21. See photograph of my second branch in 1956. I lived upstairs without running water or electricity. My book traces my career through the years and the 12 countries in which I lived and worked, Scotland, England, The Gold Coast which became Ghana, Nigeria - my part became Biafra where I experienced happy days and exciting times, Canada, New York, Hong Kong , Malaysia, Jamaica, Bermuda and Sint Maarten. In my book I have related various incidents and have tried to give a flavour of life and work in all of these places as well mentioning some of the other countries I visited in the course of my work. I hope the book will interest younger bankers and recall memories for older ones as well as proving interesting to anyone who would like to know what life and work was like in those places and times.

Bank of British West Africa, Sunyani, Ghana 1956
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