Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
Government owned
Industry Finance
Founded 1963
Headquarters Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Products Financial services
Total assets Birr 158.11 billion Birr as on June 30th 2013.
Number of employees
18,000+ (2014)

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is the largest commercial bank in Ethiopia As of June 2011, it had about 86.5 billion Birr in assets and held approximately 63.5% of deposits and about 38% of all bank loans in the country. The bank has around 18,000 employees, who staff its headquarters and its over 500 branches positioned in the main cities and regional towns. The latter include 45 branches in the national capital Addis Ababa. With the opening of a branch in the Gechi in the Illubabor Zone of the Oromia Region, CBE's banking network has reached 550 branches.


A Commercial Bank of Ethiopia building in Addis Ababa.

After the Ethiopian-English victory over Fascist Italy, the new government established the State Bank of Ethiopia a proclamation issued in August 1942. State Bank of Ethiopia commenced full operations on 15 April 1943 with two branches and 43 staff. It served both as the Ethiopia's central bank with the power to issue bank notes and coins as the agent of the Ministry of Finance, and as the principal commercial bank in the country. In 1945 the Ethiopian government granted the bank the sole right of issuing currency. The first governor of the bank was an American, George Blowers. He inaugurated the new national currency, which, owed its successful introduction to the United States. The United States provided the silver for 50 cent coins, whose intrinsic value ensured popular acceptance of the new paper money to a population used to the circulation of the silver Maria Theresa thaler.

In 1958, the State Bank of Ethiopia established a branch in Khartoum, Sudan. that the Sudanese government nationalized in 1970.[1] At some point the State Bank also opened a transit office in Djibouti, and over time grew to number 21 branches.

In 1963, the Ethiopian government split the State Bank of Ethiopia into two banks, the National Bank of Ethiopia (the central bank), and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).[2] Seven years later, the Sudanese government nationalized the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia's branch in Khartoum.[1]

The Ethiopian government merged Addis Bank into the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in 1980 to make CBE the sole commercial bank in the country. The government had created Addis Bank from the merger of the newly nationalized Addis Ababa Bank, and the Ethiopian operations of the Banco di Roma and Banco di Napoli. Addis Ababa Bank was an affiliate that National and Grindlays Bank had established in 1963 and of which it owned 40%. At the time of nationalization, Addis Ababa Bank had 26 branches.

In 1991, when Eritrea achieved its independence, CBE lost its branches in Eritrea to nationalization. These branches formed the base for what became in 1994 the Commercial Bank of Eritrea. Also in 1994, the Ethiopian government reorganized and reestablished CBE.

A few years ago, the government restructured CBE and signed a contract with Royal Bank of Scotland for management consultancy services. After the death of its former President, Mr. Gezahegn Yilma, the Board of Management appointed Mr Abie Sano as a new President of the Bank. Parliament recently increased the Bank's capital to 4 billion Ethiopian Birr. At some point CBE had a branch in Djibouti that it has since closed.

In January 2009, CBE received regulatory approval to open a branch in Juba, Southern Sudan.[3]


  1. ^ a b Mauri, Arnaldo ((2008); The re-establishment of the Ethiopia's monetary and banking systems, Dept. of Economics and Business, University of Milan, W.P. n. 11-2008.[1]
  2. ^ BRIMMER, Andrew F. (1960). "BANKING AND FINANCE IN THE SUDAN". South African Journal of Economics (28): 23–34. doi:10.1111/j.1813-6982.1960.tb01848.x. 
  3. ^ ALEMU, HILINA (18 January 2009). "Ethiopia: CBE Poised for Venture into South Sudan". Retrieved 21 January 2013. 

External links[edit]