Ethiopia's Leading Bank Recovers Nearly 80% of Funds Lost to System Glitch

Ethiopia’s Leading Bank Recovers Nearly 80% of Funds Lost to System Glitch

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – In a remarkable recovery effort, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the nation’s largest financial institution, has announced it has successfully recouped nearly 80% of the funds that were mistakenly withdrawn by customers following a system glitch. This incident, which took the country by storm, involved transactions amounting to approximately $14 million due to an error that permitted customers to withdraw more money than their account balances.

Abe Sano, the bank’s president, revealed to the media on Tuesday that the glitch allowed transactions ranging from as little as 9 cents to $5,350 to occur. Initially, the bank reported a staggering loss of $40 million due to the fault. However, through concerted efforts and the goodwill of nearly 15,000 people, a significant portion of the lost funds has been voluntarily returned.

The bank, in an official statement, expressed gratitude towards those who returned the money “taken illegally” and highlighted the ongoing efforts to recover the remaining funds. Notably, 567 individuals who have yet to return the erroneously withdrawn amounts found their names and account details published online by the bank. This move, seemingly aimed at urging them to return the funds, underscores the institution’s determination to rectify the situation fully.

Abe Sano emphasized that although the remaining amount is relatively minor for the bank, achieving full recovery is crucial to sending the right message. “The total amount remaining is not significant for the bank, but if this money is not fully recouped, it sends the wrong message,” Abe remarked, stressing the importance of integrity and responsibility.

The banking glitch, which became widely known through social media on March 16, saw a notable number of withdrawals by university students. Several educational institutions have since appealed to their students to return the withdrawn funds, reinforcing the call for ethical conduct.

The cause of the problem has been traced back to a “routine system update and inspection,” with the nation’s central bank clarifying that it was not the result of a cyberattack. This incident has prompted a closer examination of digital banking security measures.

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, established in 1963, serves as a cornerstone of the Ethiopian banking industry with a customer base of 40 million. This episode marks a significant challenge in its history, reflecting the complexities of managing a vast banking network in the digital age.

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