After long wait, CBE Djibouti obtains SWIFT Code

0
479

The Djibouti branch of the state owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, (CBE) Djibouti Limited is hoping to escalate its business via international business and transfers after the long awaited SWIFT Code is secured.
Mathewos Kidane, Acting Manager for Customer Service at CBE Djibouti, said that his company has been unable to commence the massive banking business which they were planning on starting in Djibouti because the bank was waiting for a SWIFT connection.
He said that the bank has a goal of starting the activity in the export operation and transfer service, which is in high demand by Ethiopians based in Djibouti.
In the past 20 months since its recommencement of operations the bank has been focused on opening current and savings accounts, which is manage by USD and the Djibouti Franc. So far the Djibouti branch has about 300 account holders including Ethio Djibouti Railway Corporation which is a pioneer as a client at CBE Djibouti Limited. “We did not introduce total banking operations so we have been focused on opening accounts,” he said. “Now we hope that in the near future the operation will expand into major business in the country which means foreign businesses and transfers,” Mathewos added.
According to the acting manager for customer service, initially the branch was expecting to get the SWIFT Code in a short amount of time, but the Italian company asked for several preconditions and documentation to provide the code. “We got a green light about a month ago and expect to commence the whole business in the coming weeks,” he explained. Currently employees of the bank, which has about 17 employees at Djibouti, in training sessions to introduce the new service, while IT experts are expected to arrive in Djibouti to commence operation.
The financial sector environment in Djibouti is highly competitive since some prominent international banks are involved. Including CBE 12 banks operate in Djibouti, which has less than one million people. “The bank has a direct relationship with Ethiopia wants to serve Ethiopians and Djibouti citizens, who have a business relationship with Ethiopia, to work with the bank,” Mathewos told Ethiopian journalists visiting Djibouti.
The country has a direct business relationship with Ethiopia that attracts an international cliental. For this reason adequate facilities are needed to serve major Ethiopian businesses or operations like the Ethiopian Embassy, Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise and other Ethiopians. ESLSE was registered as the first account holder at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia Djibouti Limited when it opened its doors on April 8 in the heart of the city.
CBE Djibouti Limited wants to dominate Ethiopia’s logistics business transactions between the two nations.
About twenty months ago, the bank reopened with a total capital of over USD 6.3 million and a plan to be one of the major financial institutions in Djibouti.
Before its closure in 2004 the bank was one of Djibouti’s major financial players. As former leaders of the branch bank stated it was a respected bank in the past and can return to that reputation.
When the bank closed its doors over a decade ago the major reason was a high non performing loan portfolio amounting to USD 16.7 million.
Djibouti mostly imports Khat from Ethiopia. Before halting its operation in 2004 Khat importers were the major customers of CBE’s Djibouti branch. The Ethiopian community was another potential customer for the bank. At that time the economic activity was very slow and the bank activity mainly focused on Khat.
Before it left Djibouti, CBE Djibouti sold several of its buildings. Initially the bank expected to become profitable within two years, but currently it is losing money.
In Djibouti CBE began operation in 1962 as a liaison office and became a full-fledged bank in 1971.