ETHIOPIA – Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) reported 6.7 billion Br profit before tax for the first half of this fiscal year. This is nearly half of the 12.8 billion Br income it bagged during the same period last fiscal year.

This performance does not include the 4.4 billion Br deposit it mobilized suddenly when it announced in January, that it would be opening letters of credit (LC) for clients who would make full deposits for the total they needed.

CBE mobilized 18.5 billion Br in deposits in the reporting period, attaining a total of 260.2 billion Br. CBE has added 1.2 million new accounts during the period, increasing the total to 12 million.

Moreover, new savings products are now becoming more popular, said Dereje Asegedew, acting communication head at CBE.

The Bank has saving schemes for children, youth and for education as well as interest free banking accounts.

Aggressive branch expansion and deployment of electronic payment machines are behind the increase in deposits, said Ephrem Mekuria, communication director for CBE.

The Bank has opened 35 new branches, bringing the total to 1,000.

From these, 916 are interconnected through T-24 CORE Banking Solution, which means that similar transactions can be done at any of the connected branches.

CBE has 1,616 automated teller machines (ATMs), including its purchase last August, which it plans to almost double to 3,000 by the end of the second Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II).

Related to this, 624,769 cards have been distributed to customers.

It has also deployed 2,349 new point-of-sale (PoS) machines. It has registered 305,880 mobile and 14,009 Internet banking subscribers. This is more than it had planned.

Its loans and bond purchase has reached 39.4 billion Br.

Of the 2.3 billion dollars collected from the foreign exchange market, remittances accounted for a whopping two billion dollars, while exports generated just 292.1 million dollars.

This performance, however, is lower than the same period last year, when it had collected three billion dollars.

CBE’s assets have now reached 330.5 billion Br, up 9.1pc since June 30, 2015.

Frequent power and network connection interruptions, shortage of skilled manpower and sluggish supply of foreign currency have been identified as major challenges.

February 14, 2016;