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Oromia Bank boasts success pioneering inclusive banking, addressing unemployment

Teferi Mekonnen, CEO, Oromia Bank (Photo: Oromia Bank)

Addis Abeba – The Oromia Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Ethiopia, said it has positively influenced the country’s banking landscape since its establishment 15 years ago, particularly pioneering inclusive banking and contributing to tackling unemployment.

In a presser at the bank’s headquarters on Saturday, Teferi Mekonnen, CEO of the bank, said that Oromia Bank is the first commercial bank in Ethiopia to introduce Interest Free Banking aiming to achieve community based financial inclusion. 

Over the past 15 years the bank has been able to collect 9 billion birr in interest free savings and dispensed 6 billion interest free loans, according to the CEO. 

Furthermore, 22 of the bank’s first 26 branches, opened in the first six months, were in the rural, mostly inaccessible areas, bringing banking services closer to the rural community, Teferi conveyed.

The CEO’s presser came in the backdrop of two days of field visit, by journalists and media practitioners drawn from several outlets, showcasing how the bank’s financing strategy contributed to job creation, mitigating unemployment.

Journalists from several outlets visited projects financed by Oromia Bank (Photo: Oromia Bank)

Teferi said the bank prioritized recruiting and training fresh graduates and has been able to employ over 11 thousand employees across its 11,500 branches throughout the country, adding that job creation has been one of the major pillars of the bank’s project financing ventures.

According to the CEO, the bank has been able to dispense a total of 43.5 billion birr in loans out of which 26% (14.5 billion birr) was loaned to 7,757 borrowers engaged in micro and middle scale businesses including startups. The bank’s non-performing loans oscillate between 1.5 to 2 percent, making it the lowest in the industry.

Teferi said Oromia bank is one of three commercial banks in Ethiopia to build a Tier 3 data center, envisioning to become a major player in digital banking. The bank recently launched its flagship digital banking platform called OrooDigital.

The bank is currently investing a total of 5 billion birr on a nearly-finished provisional headquarters building of 34 stories in Addis Abeba, and an Excellence and Convention Center in Gelan. AS

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