The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) announced that remittances from private money transfers for the first half of this fiscal year were higher by USD 60 million than at the same time last year. This adds up to a total of USD 2.3 billion in foreign currency collected by CBE so far.
However, money from exports is lower due to global price fluctuations which contributed to the CBE’s failure to meet its USD 2.6 billion 6-month target, according to Yishak Mengesha Chief Business Development Officer at CBE.
Payments made in foreign cash added up to USD 3.27 billion. USD 754 million was spent on the import of raw materials, capital goods, medical equipment and manufacturing. Last year USD 436 million was expended by the private sector, according to CBE’s 6-month report.
Having originally planned to collect 9.8 billion birr from the private sector, CBE has managed to get 16.4 billion birr. The bank secured an income of 7.8 billion birr which includes an unaudited profit of 4.6 billion birr, the report states. This is in part attributable to the bank’s 780 branches, 85 of which were opened in the first six months of the fiscal year.
The main focus of the bank is now on getting more customers and encouraging the culture of saving in the country, according to Epherem Mekuria, communications manager at CBE. To that end the bank will launch a savings program for women before the fiscal year is out. The CBE had already put into effect two saving programs for teens aged 14-17 and young adults of 18-24 back in November, 2013.
“The number of teen and youth account holders has reached more than 5,000,” said Epherem. “It is very popular among parents.”
The account holders get higher interest rates and discounted money transfer fees. These privileges will expire when the account holders pass the age of 24 and their accounts will turn into regular accounts, Epherem explained.
Age is not an issue for the women’s savings account as even minors can open them with the help of parents or guardians. This account will allow women to get discounts when they purchase goods for their business. Mobile and Internet banking is free for all three schemes.
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia opened its doors in 1942. It now has 7 million customers and 18,035 employees. It has a total capital of 210 billion birr. Out of its 780 branches, 470 are now connected to each other through its Integrated Core Banking Solutions technology which allows customers to get services at any of the bank’s branches not just the ones they opened their accounts at.
The remaining 310 branches will come on board as soon as ethio telecom finishes its expansion projects and an uninterrupted network system is available, Epherem said.