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Ahadu Bank, a new commercial bank, is under formation and has sold 200 million Br worth of shares as of this week.
Ahadu got an approval from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to start selling shares back in February 2020 and embarked on the task in March after mobilizing its resources and opening an office.
The Bank set 40 shares as the minimum amount of shares a buyer can purchase with a 500 birr single share value. A shareholder can buy a maximum share of 20,000,000 million birr.
Seventeen promoters with different backgrounds in banking, business, NGO, and construction initiated Ahadu. The former director-general of the Federal Transport Authority Kassahun Hailemariam is one of the promoters of the Bank.
The Bank has opened an office on the first floor of Dil Building located in Bambis. It has also opened accounts at 12 banks including the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Awash International Bank and Cooperative Bank of Oromia and where interested buyers can deposit their purchase amounts.
While buying shares, the shareholders have to deposit 50pc of the total value they bought and pay the balance within the next three months.
“Though it seems there are many banks in Ethiopia, also counting the ones under formation, compared to the population of Ethiopia, the number is still low,” said Yohannis Shewakena market study and sales administrator at Ahadu Bank.
Neighboring Kenya, with half the population of Ethiopia, has more than 40 banks. Currently, in Ethiopia, 17 commercial banks are operational, as well as 35 microfinance institutions.
In addition to the low number of banks, Ahadu believes the existing banking industry faces several problems.
“Many of the existing banks are not transparent, corrupted when it comes to distributing loans and are formed based on certain affiliated groups,” said Yohannis.
Yohannis argues that many of the clients of the existing banks are dissatisfied with the service they get, and it is this gap the Ahadu tries to capitalize on.
The Bank aims to focus on small and medium businesses as well as financing entrepreneurs. Within the first year of commencing operations, the management of Ahadu Bank plans to open 50 branches, with two-thirds of them located outside of the capital complying with the requirements of the NBE.
Ahadu initially planned to finish selling shares by May 8, 2020. However, because of Novel Coronavirus, turnouts were low, and the Bank was forced to extend the deadline to July 22, 2020. The Bank plans to collect an additional 800 million birr in the reaming period.
Once the Bank reaches the initial paid-up capital requirement set by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), half a billion birr, it plans to secure a license and get a commencement letter from NBE. The regulatory Bank will first conduct a field inspection and proclaim that the new Bank is ready for operation.
The Bank is attempting to join an industry that has shown massive growth over the past decade. Deposit mobilization alone showed a 50-fold upsurge compared to the rate registered in 2008.
Ahadu faces a steep challenge as the industry has become very competitive in the past few years. Currently, there are over a dozen banks under formation, including Amhara, Goh Betoch, Jano, Zad, Ahadu, and Zemzem Bank. Enat Bank was the last to join the banking industry.

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