Bank Review: The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia—Everything you need to know

Bank Review: The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia—Everything you need to know

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is one of the biggest banks in Ethiopia. It currently has 1723 branches and more than 10,000 employees worldwide.

The CBE offers a wide range of banking services like loan disbursements, agent banking, Diaspora accounts, and sharia-compliant investments to its 35+ million customers.

This article covers everything you need to know about The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and how you can access its services.

The history of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

Created in 1943, The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is one of the oldest banks on the African continent.

The CBE started as a state bank, which means it had the authority to print banknotes and coins for the Ethiopian government.  

In 1963, the Ethiopian government split the CBE into the National Bank of Ethiopia (central bank) and The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, but the commercial branch of the bank was joined with the Addis Ababa bank in 1980.

After the merger, the CBE remained the only commercial bank in Ethiopia until 1994.  

The current chairperson of the CBE’s board of directors is Ato Teklewold Atinafu. He also acts as a financial sector advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

The importance of The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) introduced modern banking to Ethiopia.

It was the first bank in Ethiopia to partner with Western Union, introduce ATMs, and add mobile banking to its list of services.

Today, Ethiopians in the diaspora can send money home through the CBE’s 20+ international money transfer partners, which include Western Union, Moneygram, and WorldRemit.

In addition to its partnership with international money transfer services, the CBE has a strong SWIFT connection with more than 700 foreign banks worldwide.

The CBE also has different initiatives aimed at helping people in low-income areas in Ethiopia.

For example, its agent banking platform, CBE Birr, allows people in low-income areas to easily send and receive money.

Types of accounts offered by Commercial bank of Ethiopia

Before creating a CBE account, it is best to consider your needs, nationality, and the interest offered on the account.

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has different types of accounts which are split into 2 categories: deposit accounts and non-interest accounts.

Deposit accounts

Deposit accounts with the CBE have an interest rate of at least 7%.

These accounts are suited for personal savings, current account holders, foreigners, or Ethiopians in the Diaspora.

Examples of the products and services offered to CBE deposit account holders are:

  • Women’s saving account
  • Youth saving account
  • Education saving account
  • Ordinary Demand Deposit
  • Special-Demand Deposit Account
  • ECX related Account
  • Non-resident accounts for embassies, diplomats, etc.

If you are a foreigner or Ethiopian in the Diaspora, deposit CBE accounts are your friend.

You can either open a fixed deposit account, a current deposit account, or a non-repatriable Birr account.

With a CBE deposit account, you can easily deposit cash in the currency of your choice, pay your bills, and carry out local transactions in Ethiopia.

The only drawback is that the CBE does not pay interest on current deposit and non-repatriable Birr deposit accounts.

Requirements

  • Documents that verify your identity I.e passport, ID, school ID, etc.
  • If you are a Private Limited Company (PLC) you must present documents that show you are a PLC I.e a work permit
  • If you are a foreign resident, you must present documents that show you can have a Diaspora account in Ethiopia.

Non-interest account (CBE Noor)

CBE-Noor accounts are for individuals interested in saving and investing money in accordance with Sharia laws.

It's a great option for Muslims or people interested in owning an interest-free account or investing in “Halal” businesses.

For example, CBE Noor investment accounts do not invest in businesses that:

  • Sell pork or run pig farms
  • Sell or produce alcoholic beverages
  • Run casinos, gambling halls or activities that are “harmful to society”.

Some of the products and services offered by CBE-Noor account holders are:

  • Ordinary savings and Investment accounts
  • Salary payment and cash deposit
  • Almerah/Women/ Savings and Investment accounts
  • Zakat/Tithe/Alms/saving account
  • Diaspora Mortgage Accounts
  • ECX account
  • Foreign currency account (NRT/NRNT)

Simply visit a CBE Branch near you to find out the requirements needed to open a CBE Noor account.

How to access the services offered by The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

The commercial bank of Ethiopia offers a wide range of banking services to its local and diaspora customers.

These services can be accessed in 4 ways:

Mobile banking

This covers the CBE’s services that can be accessed via a mobile phone. These services include:

  • Account balance inquiry
  • Mobile top-up
  • Money Transfer
  • Payment of bills and services

You can either use a USSD code (*889#) or download the CBE’s mobile app from the Playstore or Appstore.

Internet banking

This covers CBE’s services that can be accessed via its online banking platform. These services include:

  • Money transfer
  • Account balance inquiry
  • Account statement
  • Payment of bills
  • Apply for a letter of credit

You can access the CBE’s online portal here.

CBE Birr

The CBE Birr is a mobile banking app used by authorised CBE money agents to carry out different banking services on behalf of the bank. These services include:

  • Money transfer
  • Money withdrawal
  • Airtime purchase
  • Payment of bills and services
  • Account balance inquiry

You can become a CBE Birr agent by dialling*847# or by visiting a CBE agent or branch near you.

On-site banking

This covers CBE’s services that can be accessed at its physical branches. These services include:

  • Money withdrawal
  • Opening a CBE account
  • Account balance inquiry
  • Payment of bills
  • Account statement
  • Account balance inquiry
  • Money transfer
  • Loan application

You can find a CBE branch close to you here.

How to send money from Abroad to a Commercial Bank of Ethiopia account

You can send money to a Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) account via your bank or an international money transfer service.

Via a local bank

The CBE has a strong connection with more than 700 foreign banks.

To send money to Ethiopia, you need to:

  • First, check if your bank can send money to CBE. You can do so by using CBE’s SWIFT code (CBETETAA)
  • Input the full name and address of the beneficiary i.e person you want to send the funds to. You will also need to input the name of the beneficiary’s grandfather.
  • Input the address of a CBE branch close to the beneficiary. You can check the address of CBE branches here.
  • Input the beneficiary’s CBE account number.
  • Tap send.

To receive the funds, the beneficiary needs to provide the personal information of the sender (including their grandfather’s name) and present an ID card to verify their identity.

Via an international money transfer service

The CBE can receive money from 20+ international money services like MoneyGram, Western union, etc.

To send money to Ethiopia, you need to:

  • Confirm the money transfer service can send money to Ethiopia. You can check on the CBE’s website here.
  • Follow the prompts on the money transfer service of your choice.

How to get a loan at The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

The requirements needed to access a CBE loan depend on the type of loan and the organization requesting the loan. Some of the loans offered by the CBE are:

Investment loans

These loans are for businesses or organisations in the automobile, agricultural, construction, and import and export industry

Microfinance institution loan

These are loans provided to institutions that provide financial services to low-income members of society.

Consulting firm financing

These are loans provided to individuals that provide professional services related to Engineering, ICT, Law, Accounting, and Art.

How to check your Commercial Bank of Ethiopia account number

This can be done in 3 ways: mobile banking, internet banking, and ATM.

Mobile banking

Dial *889# to access your account via USSD OR

  1. Download the CBE app from the Playstore or Appstore
  2. Enter your login details
  3. Navigate to your profile

Internet banking

  1. Visit  https://cbeib.com.et
  2. Login with your user-id and password
  3. Go to your profile

ATM

  1. Find an ATM close to you. You can find one here
  2. Put in your ATM card
  3. Input your pin
  4. Request your account information

How to check my balance in Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

You can check your CBE account balance in 3 ways: mobile banking, internet banking, and via ATM.

Mobile banking

Dial *889# to access your account via USSD OR

  1. Download the CBE app from Playstore or Appstore
  2. Enter your login details
  3. Navigate to your profile

Internet banking

  1. Visit  https://cbeib.com.et
  2. Login with  your user-id and password
  3. Go to your profile

ATM

  1. Find an ATM close to you. You can find one here
  2. Put your ATM card in the ATM
  3. Type in your pin
  4. Check your account balance

Frequently Asked Questions about the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

How many branches does CBE have in 2022?

There are currently 1,793 CBE branches.  You can find the location of the nearest CBE branch by checking its website here

What is the transfer code for Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

Simply dial *889# on your mobile phone to transfer money from your CBE account.

What is The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia's website

You can visit the English website of the CBE here.

Where can I download The Commerce Bank of Ethiopia app

You can download the mobile app from the Playstore or Appstore.

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia phone number

The bank can be reached at 251-552-50-04 and 251-122-87-55.

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia customer care number

Simply dial +251951 or 951 to speak with a CBE customer care agent.

What is The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia's SWIFT code

CBETETAA

What is the contact information of The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

The CBE’s headquarters: Gambia Street, P.O.Box 255 Addis Ababa

Telephone numbers: 251-551-50-04 and 251-122-87-55

Fax number: 251-551-45-22 and 251-122-89-66

Email address: cbe@combanket.et

Commercial bank of Ethiopia mobile banking dial number

The CBE’s USSD code depends on the platform you want to access.

Regular account holders need to dial *889# to access its mobile banking services.

CBE Birr agents need to dial *847# to register for the CBE Birr platform or carry out transactions for their customers.

What are The Social Media Handles of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia?

The Commercial bank of Ethiopia is active on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

You can also get customer support and stay updated on its services by following its Telegram and Youtube accounts.

Commercial bank of Ethiopia saving interest rate calculation

The interest rate available to CBE customers is based on the account type.

For normal savings accounts, the bank offers a minimum annual interest of 7%.

On the other hand, CBE Noor accounts do not offer any interest rates in accordance with sharia banking laws.

Conclusion

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia offers a wide range of banking services anyone, including foreigners or Ethiopians in the diaspora, can access.

You also don’t need much to open a CBE account; all you need to do is provide documents like a work ID, work visa, etc. that verify your identity.

Although the CBE’s website is hard to navigate, you can use its bank branches, mobile money agents, and mobile banking platforms to access the services and information you need.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Bank_of_Ethiopia#References

https://www.combanketh.et/en/

https://banksethiopia.com/banks/commercial-bank-of-ethiopia/

https://allaboutethio.com/how-to-use-cbe-birr-to-pay-utilities-water-electricity-tele-dstv-traffic.html