Online Banking Comes to Ethiopia

Berhan International Bank SC has hired the accounting and auditing firm of Ernst & Young (E&Y) to undertake an IT security audit, which will enable the Bank to launch Internet banking.

Berhan International Bank – BIB for short – is a relatively young private bank in Ethiopia. The bank opened its first branch around Bole International Airport in October 2009, and now has twelve branches in various Ethiopian cities.

Berhan Bank started operation in October 2009, with all of its branches interconnected through its centralised, online, real-time, electronic (CORE) banking system.

A busy street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A busy street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Berhan’s CORE banking system was primed for Internet banking from the beginning, according to Solomon Mammo, the Bank’s director of information systems, who mentioned that the training of 10 employees and a trial implementation of the Internet banking service had already been completed, with the help of trainers from Neptune.

This UK-based company, established in 1999, is the one that provided Berhan with its CORE banking software, Rubikon.

“Once we ensure that our networks are secure, we will immediately start Internet banking services,” Mammo said.

This technology will allow clients to view their loan and bank statements online. Clients will also be able to transfer money from one account to another in any branch of the Bank, a service called book transfer, that is also available at Zemen Bank. United Bank, the only other bank with Internet banking, has still not introduced this service.

Internet banking in Ethiopia, including that to be introduced by Berhan Bank, is still at a rudimentary level, according to Solomon Desta, director of banking supervision at NBE.

“Online banking, in its proper form involves online purchases and other e-commerce activities that involve money transfer through the Internet from one bank to another,” he said. “It has a lot of security and capacity implications.”

The SWIFT code for Berhan International is BERHETAAXXX.

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One thought on “Online Banking Comes to Ethiopia

  1. This is off topic, but I’m fascinated by Ethiopia and would love to visit there someday. It’s such an interesting mix of ancient tribal cultures and modern urban life. There’s so much fascinating nature to see, and the country has deep religious roots of several faiths.

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