Ecobank Group plans to expand more within the East African region, where it sees more profit and growth potential, the bank’s CEO Ade Ayeyemi (pictured) says.
The Bank’s renewed focus on East Africa puts Kenya at the forefront alongside other East African neighbours, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, which are experiencing good economic growth.
“It is a good thing to be in multiple countries. We have good growth in some and we have challenges in other countries,” Ayeyemi said.
The Ecobank CEO said Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, which have shown good economic growth prospects in West Africa, stood to gain more from the bank’s expansion drive in West Africa.
The pan-African banking corporation is present in 33 countries around Africa.
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated sees the impact of the international commodity downturn, triggered by the slower demand for steel and other products internationally, continue to take a toll on some West African economies.
“We see the highest rate of economic growth in East Africa … so naturally, we will maximize growth where there is growth as we respond to the challenges in other regions which have suffered from the international drop in commodity prices,” the bank CEO disclosed to Chinese news agency, Xinhua.
The Ecobank CEO said Gabon and Nigeria have reported the biggest impact of the drop in international commodity prices, which has reduced the economic growth rates in Nigeria.
In 2016, the group reported its pre-tax profits fell 53 percent in 2015 as a result of large non-performing loans from its unit in Nigeria.
However, the banking corporation reported a profit before tax of Sh29.1 billion (US$281 million) from revenue of Sh145 billion (US$1.4 billion) for the nine months ending September 30, 2016.
In Kenya, Ecobank operates a network of 29 branches with some 50,000 customers, with an asset base which stood at Sh53.6 billion (US$518 million) in 2015.
EcoBank has set a target of getting at least 100 million customers into its banking network in 33 countries.
The customers will use a new digital application which the bank launched Thursday night at a ceremony attended by users of the new payment system for its network of customers.
The digital application will enable users to connect to their accounts from 33 different national locations, to pay bills, obtain account statements and to access card services as well as to conduct financial transactions.
“This new system allows us to play the role of the trade engine of Africa.
“We believe it would help us to accelerate our objective of reaching 100 million customers in Africa,” the CEO said.