Commercial Bank of Ethiopia recovers $10 million from its $14 million system glitch loss

March 27, 2024
2 min read
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
  • Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is said to have recovered around $10 million from customers who withdrew more funds from their bank accounts due to “systems glitch” on March 16, 2024.
  • Initially, the bank was said to have lost up to $40 million. However, the CBE head, Abe Sano, reportedly disputed that, saying the amount taken was smaller and would be accurately determined. According to the BBC, the bank lost $14 million. Consequently, recovering $10 million means getting back three-quarters of the lost funds.
  • Per reports, university students withdrew most of the money after the news went viral via messaging apps and phone calls.

After news of the glitch spread, there was a long queue at the campus ATMs. Around 490,000 transactions had already been completed hours before the bank became aware of the problem. Three universities reportedly advised their students to return any excess cash withdrawn from the bank.

Sano cautioned that those who chose not to comply would face legal repercussions, as the bank is currently reporting customers to law enforcement. Nevertheless, several customers have voluntarily returned the funds.

He also said, “There is no way that they can escape because they are digital, and they are our customers. We know them. They are traceable, and they are legally accountable for what they did.”

While it has not yet disclosed the cause of the issue, the bank has reassured clients that their accounts are secure by characterising it as a system glitch rather than a cyberattack.

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is Ethiopia's largest commercial bank, managing over 38 million accounts. Founded 82 years ago, it held nearly 67% of all deposits and 53% of all bank loans in the country as of mid-2021.

However, several factors, including cyberattacks, cause banks in Africa to lose money. For example, in May 2023, fraudulent customer withdrawals at I&M Bank Rwanda cost $10.3 million, which is more than the bank's loss in December 2022 of $7.6 million. Fraudsters hacked into the bank’s Swift system and transferred funds to bank accounts outside Rwanda.

Absa Bank Kenya reported a fraud loss of KSh 107.7 million ($716,566) in October 2023 but recovered KSh 59.1 million ($393,213) through internal fraud risk-reduction measures.

Subscribe To Techpoint Digest
Join thousands of subscribers to receive our fun week-daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, directly in your inbox, hours before everyone else.
This is A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day! 
Digest Subscription

Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy Policy.

Other Stories

43b, Emina Cres, Allen, Ikeja.

 Techpremier Media Limited. All rights reserved