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Commercial Bank of Ethiopia’s System Failure: A Closer Look at the Consequences for Customers

March 18, 2024

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is currently facing the challenge of recovering significant amounts of money that were withdrawn by customers due to a “systems glitch”. On Saturday, customers realized that they could withdraw more cash from their accounts than they actually had. According to local media, over $40m (£31m) was either withdrawn or transferred to other banks. It took the bank several hours to halt all transactions and address the issue.

Students withdrew a significant amount of money from state-owned CBE, as reported by bank president Abe Sano to journalists. The news of the incident quickly spread through universities via messaging apps and phone calls, leading to long lines at campus ATMs in western Ethiopia. One student mentioned that police officers had to intervene to halt the withdrawals. Another student from Dilla University shared that several peers managed to withdraw money from CBE during the late hours of the night.

CBE, established 82 years ago, has over 38 million account holders. Ethiopia’s central bank, acting as the financial sector’s regulatory body, addressed an issue related to a service interruption caused by a glitch during maintenance activities in a recent statement. The statement clarified that the incident did not involve a cyber-attack and assured customers that their personal accounts were secure, despite not specifying the amount of money withdrawn during the incident.

Several universities have issued statements urging students to return any money that does not belong to them, which they may have taken from CBE.  The Bank stated that individuals who return the money will not face criminal charges. However, the extent of the bank’s success in recovering their funds remains unclear. A student from Jimma University mentioned that he had not heard of anyone returning the money, but observed police vehicles on campus. Additionally, an official from Dilla University reported that bank employees were present on campus to collect money voluntarily returned by some students.

The central bank of Ethiopia, responsible for supervising its financial sector, has stated that the disruption was caused by security checks within the system. They emphasized that this incident does not pose any threat to the bank, its customers, or the overall financial system.



  1. I would not be surprised if the pilfered money had somehow made its way into Minnesota, Toronto, Oslo and Down Under. These are the dens of the most conniving and bigoted individuals and groups among our Diaspora who hate Ethiopia wholesale. Some of the most virulent and crafty ones of these are not even Ethiopians. They might have been born in Ethiopia but take guidance and orders directly from a foreign sitting government. You can tell how their narratives change depending on the mood of their foreign boss. When things are cool their noses are clean with everything they say or write about Ethiopia and when things are not cordial you will find them busy looking for any possible dirt on that gem of the colored. These are the most disgusting and faceless individuals/groups we have been dealing with. They are not the first ones. They have predecessors going back to the early 1970’s. Their fathers and uncles used to rally the gullible among us against the late emperor on Saturdays and Sundays and you would see them demonstrating in the streets of New York, Berlin, London and Paris with placards condemning the bombing of their ‘country’ by the Ethiopian army. They were Ethiopians through and through on Saturdays and Sundays but they were foreign country citizens on weekdays. Later on they became publishers and authors with one sided tell-all memoirs. So the leeching goes on!!!!!

  2. BBC World News just reported that the amount of money pilfered was around $16 million in US dollars. That is not peanuts. It is almost a billion dollars in the local currency. This must be taken as a wake up call to other similar institutions in that country. In this day of sophisticated hackers it may be impossible to avoid but proper actions can minimize the damage. Such hacked pilfering is the one that has kept demonic regimes like North Korea afloat. It is a matter of time before they come ashore and run coffers dry in Africa. It is also reported that many university students were involved in this criminal act by transferring the money they don’t have. They may be on their way to political asylums. Minnesota, Toronto, Oslo, Down Under; here I come!!!!

  3. This shows how the social fabrics and community values have completely withered away after being besieged by commies propaganda since the 1970’s. Stealing has become normal because it belongs to the oppressors. The culture of ‘legal’ robberies and systemic pilfering have been going on in the open for decades now and it is not just confined to those in the position of power but it has crept up all the way to higher institutions of learning like this one among university students. I talk about the complete breakdown of community values our old country has been known for. How do you take something that does not belong to you? Where did you get the nerve/courage to take away or keep the money you don’t have or that does not belong to you? How? How? That is because in your twisted mind, stealing is perfectly alright. Now you have tens of thousands of dollars you never had or that does not belong to you, it is time to go on the move chasing political asylum all the way to Minnesota, Toronto, Oslo and Down Under with deep pockets awash with stolen money!!!!

  4. This is a very classic EPRDF crime. TPLF was expert at it. They looted the treasury of ALMA (the Amhara Development Agency) and then burnt the office to destroy the documents.
    The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has come under multifaceted attacks since Abiy Ahmed and his OLFite gangs took power. The bank elite have been displaced by ethnic Oromos. The banks major national accounts have been snatched and given to Oromo banks. Reports that the bank had been defrauded of millions of dollars have surfaced. The bank had been forced to waste money on Oromumma projects such as footing the bill for the Irrecha Festival.
    The bank, like the Ethiopian Airlines, a national flag carrier and has, therefore, come under intense attack by these brain-washed ignorant African elite of the Oromo clan. Woe to the Oromo people in whose name this crime of destroying a nation and its institutions is being carried out!

  5. Typically a failing regime starting to disintegrate….no social fabric in Ethiopia …only the army and that will slowly disintegarte also….each state wants it’s autonomy and possibly a referendum and declaration for independence as like Erittea. Amhara will automatically not allow Oromlites to do what they want. Tigray already on the sidelines. Somali Region is growling….BaniShungul…and southern people already have issues…Sudan is not stable. Eritrea is not finished with Ethiopia..Somalia not in good terms…..sorry state. Lack of trust and regional Power hegemony ambitions plays so much….

  6. I demand this president of the bank submit his resignation letter pronto. This happens under his watch and the buck stop at his office for not being ahead of scammers. He now tells us how many egregious transactions were made in a very short of time and he still can not tell us how much money was pilfered. The bank management staff should be overhauled. Get him and his entourage out of there. Like the saying goes during similar situation in corporate America/world: Blow him out of there!!!

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