Somali Microfinance Evolves into Shebelle Bank

ADDIS ABABA – Somali Microfinance Institution (SMFI) has completed its transition into an interest free commercial bank under the brand name Shebele Bank today.

The SMFI, which was established in 2011, secured a banking license from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) last year in a bid “to serve its clientele better, by offering ethical financial products”.

It has officially relaunched itself as Shebelle Bank in an event held in Jigjiga, the capital city of the Eastern region of Ethiopia.

“Unveiled newly established Shabelle Bank, the first Somali-owned bank in Ethiopia,” tweeted Mustafa Omer, Governor of Somali regional state, on Sunday afternoon.

“Its success hinges on the commitment of the owners, the competency of its management, & the support of the public.” Mustafa said

“When it realizes its potential, it will transform the lives of the population,” he added.

The Institution has a network of 43 branches across the Somali region and beyond.

It is now “a fully licensed commercial bank in Ethiopia, which conducts all its operations under the principles of Islamic banking”, its website says.

The move was made as per the directive of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) issued in mid-2020 , allowing microfinance institutions to evolve into commercial banks.

Apart from SMFI, Amhara credit & saving transformed to Tsedey Bank while Oromia Credit and Saving Share Company (OCSSCo) relicensed and become Sinqe Bank.