The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) registered a net profit of 14 billion birr, achieving only 64 percent of its plan for the fiscal year 2019/2020. In a lamentation letter addressed to the staff, the President of the Bank, Abie Sano, stated that he has never reported such a result in his career as a banker and he lacks words to describe it.

According to a document seen by The Reporter, CBE planned to accrue a profit of 21.8 billion birr in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, an increase from the previous year’s 15.6-billion-birr profit. In the 2018/19 fiscal year, the bank achieved 90 percent of its plans in this regard.

On the other hand, although the bank planned to mobilize a deposit of 100.7 billion birr in the 2019/20 fiscal year, it only managed to generate 54.2 billion birr falling 46 percent short of achieving its plan.

One of the positive performances in the bank’s operation in the fiscal year is its customer growth. The plan for the fiscal year was to attract four million new customers which it managed to achieve 85 percent.

In terms of revenue, the bank surpassed its plan of 64.3 billion birr generating 68.7 billion birr of revenue. This, according to a letter the Abie Sano wrote to the staff, is not something to feel comfortable about because of the high expense incurred during the same time as well as the increase in service cost for export banking.

Expense wise, the bank put a ceiling of 42.5 billion birr which was surpassed by 29 percent with the spending standing at 54.7 billion birr.

“We can’t blame external factors for this and it goes against the salary and benefits package improvement the bank made last year following the demand from the employees,” Abie stated, also indicating that salary and benefits won’t assure success.

In his letter, Abie also said that while it is imperative to hold accountable those who resulted in such a result, he warned that the bank won’t tolerate laziness and all employees must strive to make the bank a leading bank in every front.

Abie replaced Bacha Gina, now an ambassador appointee to Morocco, to become the head of the state-owned giant commercial bank. Bacha led CBE only for a year and seven months.

Abie, a former president of CBE for one year, left the bank in 2009 and has been serving as the president of Oromia International Bank until his re-appointment to his current post as president/CEO of the commercial bank.

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has been threatened by the growing massive debt owed by various government institutions including the Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopian Electric Utility, Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, Ethiopian Railways Corporation and the Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Enterprise. At the end of the 2018/19 fiscal year, government enterprises owed 412.5 billion birr in loans from CBE.