December 20, 2022

Banking services resuming in Tigray, but only serving money transfer

City: Addis AbabaNewsCurrent Affairs

The resumed banking service is only limited to receiving money sent from outside and/or Ethiopia as well as depositing money

Avatar: Kalayou Hagose
By Kalayou Hagose

Kalayou Hagose is a law graduate and reporter at Addis Zeybe.

Banking services resuming in Tigray, but only serving money transfer
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Credit: Social Media (Commercial Bank of Ethiopia Alamata Branch)

The government-owned, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), revealed yesterday that banking service has resumed in its branches in Almata, Korem, and Shire towns in the Tigray Regional State. 

"Following the recent peace deal between the federal government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), our branches in Shire, Alamata, and Korem towns have already started accepting money sent from abroad and locally," CBE said in a statement. 

The bank also noted that residents can deposit their money in these districts. 

Confirming the resumption of financial service by CBE in Shire town, Ngisti, a resident of Shire, told Addis Zeybe that people can withdraw money only if money is sent to them from abroad or within the country; while it is not allowed to withdraw money that was previously saved in the bank. 

"Of course, allowing residents to deposit their money in the bank is a good thing, but I don't think people will go to the bank to save their money as they were not able to withdraw their saved money for two years and are in need of money for their survival," said Aster Abrha (name changed), a resident in Shire.

She also urged the immediate resumption of all banking services, especially the withdrawal of savings from the banks.  

"I saw a few branches of the commercial bank in Alamata that were open and ready to start their services,” Yohannes from Alamata town told Addis Zeybe, “but I am not sure whether the bank actually starts providing the service or not." 

Due to the war in the northern part of Ethiopia, Tigray has been under blockade for more than a year, and because of this, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia was forced to suspend providing its financial services in the region, said the bank.  

In the same way, private banks like Wegagen Bank, Lion International Bank, and Bank of Abyssinia have said that they have reopened in some parts of Tigray. 

Lion International Bank disclosed the resumption of banking services in and around Shire town, Wegagen Bank, on the other hand, said that its district in Alamata and Raya Timuga towns has started providing financial services to the people. 

Wegagen Bank also said that it was ready to start up again in Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray Regional State, and Shire. 

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia stated that it will continue its efforts of expanding and restarting services in all branches in the region.

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has ordered all commercial banks to reopen their financial services in areas controlled by the national defense force.  

The Reporter, a local newspaper, reported on December 3, 2022, that as part of the NBE’s service resumption order, the banks are required to assess the status of their branches and undertake auditing before reopening branches in Tigray, parts of Amhara, and the Afar region, where banking and other basic services have been offline for the past two years.