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Financial transactions conducted through Commercial Bank of Ethiopia’s (CBE) digital channels have surpassed those via tellers, accounting for 64 percent of the total as of June 17, 2023.

Until mid-June, the bank had successfully completed 750 million transactions. Of these, almost two-third were conducted through digital systems, highlighting the bank’s commitment to embracing technology and providing convenient banking solutions to customers, according to its executives.

“The significant shift towards digital channels reflects the increasing adoption of digital banking services in Ethiopia and the bank’s efforts to keep up with evolving customer needs,” said CBE President Abe Sano.

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CBE announced its annual digital transactions reached 3.02 trillion birr. Of this, 2.4 trillion birr were mobile banking, 308 billion birr ATM, 260 billion birr internet banking, 19 billion birr CBE Birr and nearly 17 billion POS transactions.

The bank’s extensive promotion of digital banking and the public’s reduced use of cash notes to prevent COVID-19 spread favored the adoption of digital banking services during that period.

Of CBE’s 750 million transactions, 436 million were mobile banking. However, many customers still require in-person services, leading to long queues at some branches in Addis Ababa and regional cities. Experts say these queues result from operational inefficiencies or limited resources at certain branches.

With over eight decades of operation, CBE has a deposit of 1.1 trillion birr, total assets of 1.27 trillion birr and 40 million customers. It has 2,000 branches and 80,000 employees. In addition to 60 billion birr in capital, it has allocated close to one trillion birr (979 billion birr) excluding government deposits.

With the introduction of several reforms, including daily withdrawal limits and cash holding limits, cash-based transactions have shown a significant decline in Ethiopia. The entry of new fintech players like Ethio Telecom’s telebirr has also accelerated the digitization process.

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