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Amhara bank steps foot in the financial industry

Amhara bank with the theme of ‘Beyond bank’ officially started its operation as of yesterday June 18, 2022 becoming the 19th operational bank in Ethiopia.
On Saturday June 17, 2022, the bank held its official opening ceremony in its head office located around Legehare with the presence of high government officials, board member of the bank and different guests.
Amhara bank which is one of the largest banks in Africa having more than 185 thousands of shareholders has 6.5 billion birr in subscribed capital of which 4.8 billion birr is paid-up capital. The nineteenth entrant is said to start with 70 branches and is expected to reach 100 within the coming 20 days.
The bank which has been under formation for more than three years has now announced its five deputy executives being led by the chief executive, Henok Kebede, who expressed that thus far more than 800 employees have been hired.
Melaku Fanta, Chairman of the Board of the Bank, said the bank is set up to boost the country’s economy following the country’s transformation. He said the sale of shares has been carried out in accordance with the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) regulations and has been sold in all parts of Ethiopia.
Beside its opening ceremony on Saturday, the bank has held different events throughout the week including a forum on Digital Banking and Capital Market in Ethiopia. Different experts have participated on the forum which presented two panel discussions.
During the discussion on Digital Banking Banks including Amhara bank, were advised to formulate an independent strategy for digital banking and implement digital banking at various levels over the coming years.
Robel Alemayehu, CEO of Sunpay Solution and one of the panelist indicated that digital banking could not be implemented as required due to the lack of a separate strategy for the main banking service. He said financial technology companies need to be supported to strengthen digital banking in a country with more than 65 million mobile phone users.
Reminding that Ethiopia’s policy direction is to prepare and then issue licenses, Robel said it will take time to develop and implement a policy that allows digital currencies in the country.
For his part, Chief Financial Officer of Kifiya Payment Financial Technology, Munir Duri, said digital marketing technology and finances should be considered separately. Munir said the NBE has a good start in terms of supporting the financial sector. Munir further added that the necessary preparations need to be made as banks will not only compete with other banks but also with financial technology companies in the future.
On the discussion on the role of the capital market and banks expertise, it was opined that asserted domestic banks need to be prepared for the coming competition following the opening of the capital market.
“Ethiopia is not new to the capital market,” said Yared H. Meskel, an investment consultant, indicating that it should be focused in adaptation to the market to reap the necessary benefits.
Finance expert, Zemedeneh Nigatu, for his part, said the capital market will be open in a maximum of two years as he further cited that integration is one of the recommendations for strengthening banks.

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