Yilkal Kefale (PhD) (second from left), president of the Amhara Regional State; Agegnehu Teshager (third from left), speaker of the House of Federation; and Yinager Dessie (PhD) (centre), governor of the central bank, were pleased as they were given a tour of the upmarket new skyscraper in Le Gare, the central business district of Addis Abeba. It was the official launching of Amhara Bank S.C., of which Henok Kebede (far right) and Melaku Fenta (far left) are the founding president and board chairperson, respectively. On the same day, the Bank also inaugurated its headquarters on Ras Mekonnen Avenue.

It was a day full of activities for the Bank that had been under formation since 2019. The Bank’s entry into the industry is unusual. Having mobilised 4.8 billion Br in paid-up capital, close to the central bank’s minimum threshold of five billion Br, Amhara Bank has arrived at a milestone that existing banks struggle with, some may never reach. The capital was mobilised from 180,000 subscribers, a shareholder base larger than any other bank in the industry. Its subscribed capital is over 6.5 billion Br. Amhara Bank has also launched its operations with 70 branches across the country, most of them in Addis Abeba and the Amhara Regional State. It is a big-bang entry into the banking industry, in sharp contrast to a single branch strategy Zemen Bank had followed a decade and a half ago.

The Bank’s founding management will have their work cut out for them. They must contend with an industry that has become increasingly crowded over the past few years as several banks joined, a slowing economy, and an unpredictable regulatory environment.

PUBLISHED ON Jun 18,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1155]

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