Services of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
In its 75 years Journey, through three distinguished socio-economic orders, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) has immensely contributed to the national development through availing varied financial services. In this regard, varied and enormous loans have been channeled to the agricultural and industrial sectors, as well as to the nation’s infrastructure development and foreign trade services. In addition, the Bank has presently included the hotel and tourism sector in its domain of credit recipients. Back in 1942, upon its very establishment, the CBE had hold of a total capital of Eth. Birr 2525 mn Which currently (Dec 2017) reached at Birr 515 bn. In savings aspect, a mere Birr 100 mn.
mobilized at the time has now marked at Birr 409 bn. Likewise, an amount of over Birr 1529 bn. have been currently extended to the nation’s priority sectors with apparent support to multiple private developmental undertakings.
Ato Tefera Degefe, an idol in Ethiopian banking, greatly reputed for his pioneering leader ship role in the former State Bank of Ethiopia as well as the ensuing, newly formed the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. Latter,he has also assumed the governorship of the National Bank of Ethiopia.
Ato Tefera , the only child to his parents of humble origin, was born in Ankober,North Shoa in 1926. At the age of seven, he came to Addis Ababa and joined the French school, the Alliance Francoise, though abruptly interrupted in 1936 due to the Italian invasion. During the occupation, the young Tefera joined the Dr.Dubiert’s family, as errand boy, where he secured the chance to learn Italian and Russian languages. n 1944, Ato Tefera Degefe joined the State Bank of Ethiopia in view of the latter’s vacancy notice to employ competent applicants, with adequate knowledge of foreign languages, for secretarial position.
After serving the Bank for two years, Ato Tefera was selected to join the group of young Ethiopians recruited for further studies abroad. After pursuing at different universities in Canada it over seven years, Ato Tefera secured degrees in law and so in business administration.
State Bank of Ethiopia
Following the restoration of the Ethiopian government after the Italian occupation, the State Bank of Ethiopia was established in August 1942. The Imperial decree promulgated had granted One Maria Theresa from the central treasury for the Bank’s establishment.
The Bank’s head office was located at the Piazza area where the preceding British Bank, Barclay’s Bank, had previously occupied for almost two years.
The State Bank of Ethiopia had begun operations on the 15th April 1942 with 43 employees and two branch offices. It provided routine banking services to the public on day to day basis.
In its initial three years of operation, the Bank succeeded in issuing new bank notes there by discarding the ubiquitous use of the Maria Theresa, East African Shillings and the Italian Lire.
In addition, the Bank premiered the introduction of saving accounts with a 4% interest rate.
During three decades of service, the Bank has equally performed the duties of both commercial and central banks.
Moreover, it has executed tasks of a mortgage and an investment bank as well. Transit provisions had also been in its service domain. Likewise, additional twenty branch offices were opened across the nation as well as branch offices, at neighboring Djibouti (1953) and the Sudan (1958) have begun operation. Additionally, in regards to foreign trade activities, delegation from 32 financial entities across 12 major world financial centers has been secured.
The ‘Golden’ Building
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia’s gold-engraved head office building has been indisputably one of the iconic relics of the city for over five decades. The unique, aesthetically profound building has been officially inaugurated by Emperor Haile Silasie on November 15, 1965. The ‘Golden’ building, as it is popularly referred to, is comprised of dual conjured units, circular, single-streyed and the other, 11 floors of rectangular entity. Moreover, the building houses spacious basement facility catering multiple facilities. The architectural plan of the astounding building has been designed by the French Henri Chummiet and the construction work undertaken by the renowned Italian contractor, Luiggi Vamero. The overall expenditure of the building construction, along with pertinent fixtures, amounted to ETB 4 mn. Part from the CBE, the building had provided office amenities both to the National Bank of Ethiopia and the then the Savings & Mortgage Corporation of Ethiopia S.C. The ‘Golden’ building is currently serving as the Addis Ababa branch of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.
CBE-Head Office Building
The current head office building of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, equally with whimsical appearance, served at its current capacity since Nov. 1984. Documents had it; the initial plan for the building had belonged to the defunct Banco di Roma which merged with other private banks of the time forming the Addis Bank, upon nationalization on January 1975. Then after, the construction of the building was handled by the former Ministry of Urban Development. Upon completion, the building supposedly passed to the CBE, by governmental instruction, to house the entire bank offices.
Eventually, a one-story building constructed to serve as office space for top management officers. The circular 10 story building level currently houses the Fin fine Branch as well.