‘LIB will become a household name in Ethiopia soon’

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Lion International Bank (LIB) is one of Ethiopia’s privately-owned banks.  Established 2006, the bank has upped the ante in the Ethiopian banking sector.   In this interview with The African Economy’s AMAKA ENYI, Getachew Solomon, Lion International Bank President, discusses the bank’s uniqueness, and other related issues.

president-getachew-solomon2How would you describe Lion International Bank’s success story?

The success story of Lion International Bank (LIB) hinges on efficiency and synergy. Team LIB does not only represent qualified individuals, but also people who have the ability to effectively work in a team and meet the bank’s targets. Our culture and values, which are rooted in the very essence of synergy, have paid off.

Aside synergy, efficiency is a major factor of our success. We think strategically and grab resources efficiently, and then turn them into returns more efficiently. This is the secret behind our exceeding attainment during the outgoing year.

How would you assess Ethiopia’s banking sector?

Our banking sector is fast growing and the competition is stiff. Maintaining a unique flavour to stand out from the crowd for long is nearly impossible. In such circumstances, you can only have one thing that is difficult to imitate. You either have  it or not.  If you have it, you have to try hard to keep it.  But if you don’t have it, it requires a lot of energy to obtain it. I am talking about human capital. Lion International Bank boasts young, highly qualified and resourceful personnel. These qualities make us unique and give us the competitive edge in the market. Without a competent team, our vision, intents, strategies as well as products and technology would be in vain. We focus on capacity building just as we maintain what we have with a view to taking the bank to the next level. We have put the bank on the right track, while we keep achieving the little milestones that come along the way.

Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. What strategy have you outlined to take advantage of this?

Lion International Bank has four strategic seasons or steps to achieve the ultimate vision of becoming the leading bank in Ethiopia by 2035. To achieve this vision within the specified 20-year journey and not to lose sight along the way, setting the four intents that tuned the tone of each season was important.

Upon crafting these directions, we have not only dealt with the future, but also the past. Growth and expansion are our general approach to successfully reaching the vision. With growth and expansion, we can effectively exploit our competitive position and achieve the two centre-pieces of our four strategic seasons to ensure sustainable and robust growth.

We are also working to introduce more products to meet the needs of our customers. We have deployed full-fledged internet and mobile banking as well as new delivery channels. Simultaneously, kiosk offices (small-size branches) and corporate branches which are the physical service delivery channels, will start operations this year. These four virtual and physical outlets are expected to support and further enhance the existing services.

We are also set to introduce diaspora mortgage loan and recurring deposit package to the public. We have considerable number of non-resident Ethiopians and non-resident foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin living and working in different parts of the world. Through diaspora mortgage loan, we hope to facilitate ties between Ethiopians in Diaspora and their homeland to help them key into the fast-growing domestic market. For the local customers, recurring deposit will pave the way for a new culture in savings while balancing the present need of consumption. We will continue to come up with new ways of doing business to excite our customers.

What are your unique selling points?

As the most efficient bank in tapping and utilizing available resources, Lion International Bank is living up to customers’ expectations. However, we are a work-in-progress. Lion International Bank  is a young company, about to turn 10 years in a couple of months. So, we have a lot to learn and implement to secure a better future.

However, we are building a resilient and flexible bank that will overcome any challenge and seize the opportunity that comes with transformation and growth. To be on-board with what is ongoing, we are working round the clock.


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November 2016