By Groum Abate |

Mesenbet Shenkute, founding president of Abay Bank, one of the youngest financial firms in the country, resigned from her duty as of Monday, August 17, 2014. The bank’s Board of Directors have appointed Yehuala Gessesse who was Vice President for Credit Appraisal and Portfolio Management at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, as a successor. Mesenbet joined the bank while it was under formation and has led it for the past six years to its current state of success.

Mesenbet, 51, the only woman to head a bank, resigned for personal reasons. She told Capital that she wants to try other things and take on challenging roles. “I want to rest and read more. I want to come up with new ideas,” she said. Before stepping in to head Abay Bank, Mesenbet had been working at the state-owned Development Bank of Ethiopia for over a quarter of a century as Vice President for Credit.

Mesenbet is one of the strongest bankers in the country, mainly specializing on credit, according to veteran bankers that Capital talked with. She is not the alone as a woman in the banking sector but was the only female bank president.

Even though the bank is young, it has been registering significant achievements in the past half decade. One of the major achievements the bank registered under Mesenbet’s leadership was its extensive branch expansion. Abay Bank is also the only bank to register profit within its first year of establishment. The bank has been aggressively expanding its branches in a short period time across the country.

On the third year of its operations, the bank registered 75.7 million birr in profits. In the first six months of the last fiscal year, the bank registered a gross profit of 93 million birr. The total deposit amount of the bank exceeds 3 billion birr while outstanding loans reach 2.12 billion birr.

Abay Bank has more than 3,000 shareholders across the country. The shareholders are mostly farmers, cooperatives, unions and businessmen. The paid-up capital of the bank reached 524.1 million birr in April 30, 2015 and its capital has reached one billion birr. The bank is currently awaiting National Bank of Ethiopia’s approval for its new president.

Source: Capital Ethiopia
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