The bank has invested an estimated 7m Birr in the new branch
Bank of Abyssinia, one of 16 private commercial banks, is all set to open its third special branch in two weeks.
The new branch rests on a 492sqm area and is located inside the Sunshine Building on Africa Avenue. the interior design of the new branch was developed by the engineering department of the bank at an estimated cost of seven million Birr. The branch hosts valet parking, two conference halls, a canteen room, a lobby, a reception hall, booths and a waiting room decorated with a blend of traditional and modern furnishings.
Four separate companies, including Sunshine Construction, Biniyam Solomon General Work, Samuel Atkaw General Work and Neat Interior Design & Aluminium Plc participated on different aspects of the construction work. These companies were selected following a restrictive bidding process where 20 companies participated.
Sunshine was responsible for the electrical work, Biniyam Solomon executed the gypsum work, Samuel Atkaw installed the flooring and Neat Interior installed the glass work.
The renovation started on May 10, 2018, and the branch is expected to be operational on August 20, 2018. The branch will be staffed with a manager, a business adviser, accountants, receptionists, waitresses and security guards.
"We dedicated the branch for our corporate clients," said Fikadu Lemma, manager of the new branch.
The branch will serve clients who have long-term relationships with the bank, as well as celebrities, major shareholders and customers the bank has targeted and classified as "special privilege" customers. These clients will receive free accommodations to use the conference rooms, as well as access to the internet, telephone and fax services.
"In addition to the corporate clients, the branch will serve foreign investors who do not currently have accounts with the bank," said Aschalew Tamiru, marketing, communication & operation manager at the bank. Bank of Abyssinia, established over two decades ago, and earned 906 million Br in gross profit during the recently ended fiscal year.
Corporate clients will have a dedicated relationship manager who will be responsible to handle transactions for the special privilege clients. These clients will also be able to conduct transactions from their homes and offices with the bank.
Akalu Dawit, country manager and project leader at Denk Pharma, a German firm specializing in health care, is one of the corporate clients of the bank who cherishes the service.
"I held two private business meetings at the bank's special branch with no charge," Akalu said.
Bank of Abyssinia inaugurated its second special branch, Ras, located inside its headquarters on September 2, 2017. The Bank's Habesha Branch in Wollo Seferwas opened in September 2016. Two years ago, Dashen Bank launched its first special branch, also in Wollo Seferwith 30 employees. Other banks, including Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Zemen, Enat and Nib provide special service to their customers.
Independent banking experts see such services as a good platform for the banks to strengthen relationships with potential corporate clients.
"Special banking is a better and preferable method to attract new potential corporate customers," said Rahel Assefa, a banking and finance expert and consultant.