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Upbeat, Shimelis Abdisa (left), president of the Oromia Regional State, walks out of the main hall of Sheraton Addis with Dima Negewo (PhD), a veteran politician and a member of the national economic advisory council, and Lencho Bati, Ethiopia`s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, for a morning break.


Upbeat, Shimelis Abdisa (left), president of the Oromia Regional State, walks out of the main hall of Sheraton Addis with Dima Negewo (PhD), a veteran politician and a member of the national economic advisory council, and Lencho Bati, Ethiopia`s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, for a morning break. The occasion was Oromia Credit & Saving Share Company’s graduation from a microfinance institution (MFI) to a full-fledged commercial bank. It gets a new name, Sinqe, which refers to a stick held by women in the region and a new headquarters – which just began construction – to fit its new stature.


Three days later, in another lavish event at the Hyatt Regency, Selam Bank’s founders celebrated the green lighting by the central bank of its entry into the unchartered waters of mortgage banking.


Although there are currently some 20 banks under various stages of formation – a proliferation that has led the central bank to raise the minimum paid-up capital to five billion Birr - Sinqe will likely be one of the major players in the field. The road was opened by a directive last year that allowed microfinance institutions to transition into commercial banks. It is doing as such with seven billion Birr in paid-up capital, only behind that of the state juggernaut the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia’s (CBE) 40 billion Br.


But banking is in such momentum that Sinqe was only one of two banks inaugurated last week.


Three days later, in another lavish event at the Hyatt Regency, Selam Bank’s founders celebrated the green lighting by the central bank of its entry into the unchartered waters of mortgage banking. The only other institution to attempt the same is Goh Mortgage Bank, which is itself under formation after mobilising around half a billion Birr in capital. With two million shares availed to the public, Selam Bank hopes to provide an ambitious 200 billion Br worth of mortgages over half a decade. Zemedeneh Negatu, an Ethiopian American businessman, addresses the founding meeting held last week.



PUBLISHED ON May 29,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1100]


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