13 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Ecobank Aims to Grow Its Base

Pan — AFRICAN banking conglomerate, Ecobank Transnational, plans to grow its customer base in Zimbabwe despite the indigenisation law and new capital requirements that have caused consternation in the financial sector.

The bank, which closed its trading year with nine branches last year, is aiming to increase its presence on the local market.

Group chief executive officer and managing director, Thierry Tanoh said the bank was committed to complying with all regulatory requirements in countries in which it operated, including Zimbabwe's indigenisation regulations.

"We have complied with the new capital requirements, we are compliant. We have ambitions to grow and gain market share in Zimbabwe," said Tanoh.

"There are some banks in the country that have benefitted from historical positioning but we are ambitious and young. Right now we are really focusing on organic growth," he said.

Tanoh said the bank would be launching a customer-focused initiative in 2013. Tanoh, who took over from Arnold Ekpe, said his focus this year would be on optimising the company's platforms.

Ecobank Transnational is headquartered in Togo.

The group is targeting a total capital base of US$2 billion but its capitalisation stands at US$1,8 billion.

Ecobank Transnational acquired majority shareholding in Premier Finance Group for US$10 million in January 2011. The institution then rebranded to Ecobank Zimbabwe and subsequently changed its merchant banking licence to a commercial one.

Turning to regional operations, Tanoh said Ecobank was a young bank aiming to grow in a sustainable manner.

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