The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is preparing to hire a consultant for the preparation of yet again another strategy that would help the state bank become a world class bank by 2025.
CBE, which went through not less than three restructuring and reorientation within the past three years, has asked consultants to express their interests in diagnosing the weaknesses of the bank and come up with “proper remedies, design strategies and draw a clear plan of action for the implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation tools.”
The whole consultancy services include eleven components. These are mandate definition, corporate and functional strategy design, asset quality review and turnaround solutions of distressed loans, corporate governance, risk management and audit, quality management and control, domestic and international banking operation, credit and resource management, human resource and institutional capacity, digital banking, marketing and product development, and information system, technology and cyber security, according to the request for expression of interest announced by the CBE.
But most of the elements in this new consultancy announcement had been studied by the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, meant to last from 2011 to 2020 but were left without implementation, The Reporter has learnt from sources within the Bank.
According to the website of the School in Frankfurt, the consultancy included design and implementation of a comprehensive human resources strategy; design, development and provision of external trainings to CBE staff, and organizational structure study.
This project, started by Bekalu Zeleke, the former President of the CBE, was scrapped by Bacha Gina, the CEO and President of the Bank. Bacha then hired a local consultant to provide the same kind of service.
However, while implementing it, inconsistencies and less communication within the bank, had created chaos among the leadership as well as employees of the state bank. Further, with the coming of Abie Sano, again a new in-house developed structure and strategy was developed that are meant to fit in the bank’s current status and growth.
Abie’s new structure was being implemented and appointment of directors for the 30 districts in three regions was ongoing until a few days back, sources said. In his covering letter to this new structure, Abie noted that the new structure is needed because of the growth level the bank had reached at and the dynamism in the banking sector at large.
The newly planned consultancy service is said to make the bank prepare itself for its vision of becoming a world class bank by the year 2025. Hence, the planned structure will focus on gap identification and help improve it.
A senior management team member at the CBE told The Reporter that the intention of hiring the consultants for the said services was heard very recently within the headquarters and it came as a surprise to them because the assignment of new directors at the newly formulated districts was not completed by the time the plan was heard.
“People were still being appointed to the newly formulated districts according to the in-house developed document. Even distribution of bank branches to the newly restructured districts is not complete,” the expert said.
The source worries that this is going to further create instabilities within the bank and on employees who are already frustrated and are leaving in numbers unseen in the past. Frequent restructuring and reorientation within the bank are also affecting operations apart from the huge amount of money spent on such studies, the source said.
Because the implementation of the last structure was not completed, there is also a communication breakdown and there is a reporting gap within the bank. There is also no guarantee that the new one won’t be changed when a new management comes, the source said in fear.
But some sector experts say that the points in the expression of interest are broad and focus on multiple aspects of the operation, capacity building and corporate health. Hence, it will be a meticulous task that should last longer than a mere structural and operational reorganization.