WAEMU banks are safe


The balance sheet total of credit institutions in the West African Monetary Union (WAMU) recorded an increase of CFAF 6,159.3 billion (€ 9.238 billion) as of December 31, 2020 compared to the same period of 2019, according to the report of the Banking Commission based in Abidjan.

This balance sheet total stood at CFAF 47,718.5 billion against CFAF 41,258.6 billion as of December 31, 2019, an increase of 14.8% year-on-year. According to the Banking Commission, this development has been observed in all the banking centers of the UMOA. By country and in order of importance, the strongest increases were observed in Côte d’Ivoire (+2 483 billion; + 18.5%), in Burkina (+949 billion; + 16.4%), in Senegal ( +883 billion; + 11.2%), in Mali (+637 billion; + 12.8%), in Benin (+574 billion; + 13.5%), in Togo (+415 billion; +13.7 %), Niger (+182 billion; + 9.9%) and Guinea-Bissau (+36 billion; + 11.9%).

The Commission notes that the number of establishments (branches, offices and points of sale) increased by 113 units in 2020, or + 3.1%, to reach 3,762. The number of automated teller machines (ATMs) s ‘increased by 159 units, or 4.5%, to 3,676.

<< As of December 31, 2020, the number of staff in the banking sector increased by 725 positions (+ 2.3%) compared to December 31, 2019 to stand at 32,664, in connection with the expansion of the banking network and the start of the activities of new establishments ”, underlines the Commission. The number of managerial staff represents 40.7% of jobs.

As for the number of bank accounts held in the books of credit institutions, it also recorded a growth of 13.2%, reaching 15,414,253 at the end of the period under review. Personal accounts grew by 12.7% and those held by legal entities by 20.9%.

According to the report of the Banking Commission, the banking system of UMOA included as of December 31, 2020, 65 cross-border banks, 63 sub-regional banks and 20 financial institutions of a banking nature, including 05 cross-border and 15 sub-regional.

Sub-regional banks dominate the market with 51.3% of the Union’s banking assets. They account for 38.1% of the branch network, have 53.8% of ATMs, hold 48.4% of bank accounts and employ 45.0% of the workforce. As for cross-border banks, they hold a 47.4% market share. “This category includes 34.0% of branches, 46.2% of ATMs, 51.6% of customer accounts and 48.0% of staff,” reveals the Commission.

Cross-border banking financial establishments account for 0.2% of assets, 1.5% of counters and 0.6% of staff. For their part, sub-regional banking financial establishments account for 1.1% of assets, 26.4% of counters and 6.4% of staff.

At the end of 2020, the WAMU banking system had 152 approved credit institutions against 153 in December 2019. << This change results from the withdrawal of the approval of the International Bank of Benin (BIBE), following its merger with the African Bank for Investment and Trade (BAIC), withdrawal of the installation authorization of Diamond Bank Benin, Ivory Coast branch, whose activities were transferred to NSIA Banque Côte d’Ivoire , of the installation authorization granted to Bridge Bank Group Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal branch ”, specifies the commission.

Thus, at the end of 2020, the banking landscape of UMOA consisted of 131 banks, including 21 branches and 21 financial institutions of a banking nature, including 04 branches.


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