Ethiopian Bank Registers Record Profits

State owned Ethiopian Commercial Bank (ECB) on Monday announced a €200 million for the 2010/2011 fiscal year, which is the highest in the country’s history.

The profit was also 50 percent more than that recorded in the previous financial year.

Around €120 million of the profit was secured with finance and international banking services.

The bank has also reported profit in the past four years making it one of Africa’s most profitable financial institutions with a huge asset base.

ECB which has about 400 branches reportedly has received around US$4 billion from Diaspora remittances and exports during the period under review.

The financial institution loaned out US$3.6 billion during the same year to various private and government bodies.

According to reports, the bank has also mobilised close to US$1.7 billion in deposits during the year bringing its total deposits to US$5.6 billion.

CBE, which also has a branch in South Sudan will celebrate its 70th anniversary early next year.

Its rivals include about 13 locally owned private banks who entered the business a decade ago.

Foreign banks and insurance companies are not allowed to invest in Ethiopia.

Analysts say Ethiopia, which has a population of 80 million people is underbanked and ideally it must have at least 40 banks.

Kenya with less than half of Ethiopia’s population has about 30 banks.

Internet Banking

Meanwhile, ECB last week signed a US$3 million agreement with IBM to modernise its core banking systems.

According to the agreement, IBM will provide hardware, software and IT services to support the CBE in its fast business growth and shift from manual financial processes to real-time financial services.

CBE plans to raise its number of accounts by 25 percent per year, launch 100 new ATMs per year and open 400 additional branches over the next five years with the new IT infrastructure.

“The new IT infrastructure will also enable the bank to strengthen and extend its relations with credit card providers such as Visa and MasterCard as well as roll out new mobile and internet banking services,” the bank said in a statement.

“Thus the bank’s customers will enjoy reduced waiting time and a greater choice of banking channels and services.”

CBE president Bekalu Zeleke said the financial institution was undergoing a major and rapid programme of modernisation.