7 Best Banks in Ethiopia | 2024 (Create Banking Accounts)

Best Banks in Ethiopia

Best Banks in Ethiopia.

In recent years, especially in the 2020’s, the Ethiopian banking system has seen exploding growth with new-and-up-coming emerging banks that you might have never heard of being launched one after another. Akufada, Zemzem, you name it!

Once dominated by a single state-owned institution, the sector now encompasses a central bank, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) (just like the Federal Reserve, which is the central bank of the United States), alongside over 40 growing numbers of private banks, giving you more options to manage your finances.

Regarding historical point of view, the Bank of Abyssinia was the first bank of Ethiopia. The bank was founded in 1905, and by 1915, it began the process of issuing the first Ethiopian bank notes (or call it paper money).

During that time, it was claimed that, besides the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, most people are not using those banknotes because it was considered something like a revolutionary incident. Turning down this life-changing innovation continues for at least twenty five years or so.

What’s more, at that time, until traders came to realize that a 500 Thaler note was much easier to hold in the pocket, even the government’s post office, microfinance institutes, broadcasting companies of Ethiopia, etc, were not using the paper money. And that became the end of silver or gold coins, which would weigh up to 14 kg.

Nowadays, from banker’s acceptance, which is a short-term loan guarantee, to debt-to-equity ratio measure, which is a company’s financial leverage, indicating how much debt it has compared to its shareholder equity, all services are there for you.

But with so many banks operating in Ethiopia, right now, choosing the top one can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry! This guide will help you navigate the best banks of Ethiopia, and find the perfect fit for your business-related goals.

What are the Top Ethiopian Banks in 2024?

Following the fact that Ethiopia is the fastest growing country of Africa, economically, it is becoming an interesting place for local venture capital investors (including in the real estate industry) to expand their business further down the line. 

Thus, it leads to several banks being established in the nation, each with its unique set of products and services, as well as vast resources. Banking, in addition to being a huge business, and lucrative market, it is still difficult to choose the best ones.

But don’t worry. We’ve got your financing worries! The following are the 7 Best Banks of Ethiopia operating in the commercial sector that you should consider to take care of your future money-related goals and objectives by the year 2024:

  1. Awash Bank.
  2. Dashen Bank.
  3. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).
  4. Wegagen Bank.
  5. Bank of Abyssinia (BOA).
  6. Berhanu Bank
  7. Abay Bank.

1. Awash Bank.

Awash Bank

Established with a focus on development in mind, Awash Bank stands as the #1 prominent financial institution in Ethiopia, serving a wide range of customers. At the same time, it is one of the most accessible financial institutions, nurturing like the river Awash.

Beginning from the early 1990’s, it has grown over the years to become one of the largest private commercial banks of Ethiopia, having +500 branches across the cities and towns. In fact, it is striving to play a monumental role in the nation’s economic growth.

Related article: Read the reviews of Awash Bank in 2024 (including products and services).

The Services offered by Awash Bank.

Here’s the services offered by Awash Bank: 

  • Mobile Banking: AwashBIRR mobile app (available on Google Play Store) for money transfers, bill payments, etc.
  • Personal Banking: Saving accounts, current accounts, interest-free banking (for our Muslim fellows), international banking, etc.
  • Business Banking: Trade finance, account and cash management systems, and other traditional banking services like Safe Deposit Box, which is a secure box where you can store valuables like Gold and Diamonds.
  • Cash Advance: A loan that allows you to withdraw cash using your credit card (might not be fully launched yet).

Pros and Cons.

And here’s the pros and cons of the Awash Bank:


  • Large branch network across the country (+500 branches as of 2020).
  • Offers a variety of up to date innovative products and services (found on their website.
  • Digital platform solutions like mobile banking, and internet banking (AwashBIRR).


  • The nearby ATM network availability is limited.
  • Some user reviews mention the mobile app, AwashBIRR, can be inconvenient at times.

Targeted Audience of Awash Bank: 

In a nutshell, Awash bank is targeted to business needs and international transactions. As such, it has a range of accounts designed to meet different customers’ needs, including savings accounts for elders, which is designed to help them manage their money safely.

Besides online banking that lets you carry out financial transactions successfully from anywhere, Awash Bank also provides a bond that represents a loan made to the government, and a brokerage account that allows you to invest in real estate (for example, Afro Sweden Real Estate), stocks, and other debt securities.

2.Dashen Bank.

Dashen Banks in Ethiopia

Established back in 1995, Dashen Bank is one of the top private banks of Ethiopia, offering quality and efficient services. It boasts a network of branches throughout the country, handling a wide range of bills of exchange written orders from one party to another to pay a certain amount of money at a certain time.

The bank began with only 11 branches, “5 steps ahead” slogan, and a primary focus on serving the financial needs of its customers. Since then, it has expanded to over 300 branches across Ethiopia with a stable and genuine customer base that is growing year after year.

As of now, Dashen Bank has a partnership deal with electronic payment brands globally and other finance-related companies like VISA, AMEX, and local real estate developers. This makes it easy for customers to make payments or withdraw cash from any location.

Related article: Read the reviews of Dashen Bank in 2024 (including products and services).

The Services offered by Dashen Bank.

Here’s the services offered by Dashen Bank: 

  • Mobile banking: USSD banking (*996#), mobile app, and other well-known traditional banking services.
  • Personal banking: Saving accounts and entrepreneurship investments.
  • Business banking: Trade finance, and modern financial tools like Point-of-Sale (POS) Transaction for purchases at a retail store via debit or credit cards.
  • Payday Loans: A short-term high-interest loan, which is typically due on the borrower’s next payday. That comes with a collateral asset, which is to be pledged as a security.

Pros and Cons.

And here’s the pros and cons of the Dashen Bank:


  • Large branch networks throughout the country (+300 branches).
  • Strong focus on financial inclusion that reached unbanked populations, especially in rural areas of Amhara, Oromian, and Tigray regions.
  • Sophisticated digital platform offerings like mobile banking, and internet banking (Amole).


  • Limited ATM network (compared to the branch network), which is the issue of almost all the banks.
  • Information on specific fees is unavailable, but there could be high fees for certain services related to banking.

Targeted Audience of Dashen Bank:

In a nutshell, Dashen Bank likely caters to individuals of all income levels, and businesses alike, including small-and-medium ones. It offers different loans for various purposes, like agricultural,  transportation, etc. Thus, playing a key role in Ethiopia’s economic growth by facilitating transactions and promoting inclusion.

Known for its great customer service, its agent staff is always ready (24/7) to respond to inquiries via phone, email, or live chat on their website. When you need help, you can also visit your nearest branch if you want to speak directly with an agent face-to-face about any matter that concerns you with their banking systems.

3. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE)

Established back in 1974, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia or CBE is the largest state-owned bank in Ethiopia. With an extensive branch network throughout the country, it offers a wide range of banking services like electronic movement of money from one account to another, also known as “EFT.”

Up to date, the bank has more than 20 million account holders. Plus, in order to let you enjoy the full suite of money deposits, cash withdrawals, payment services, account statements, and other standard banking services, the bank has come with a mobile App, which is available for download in Android and iOS versions. 

Still and all, if you’re like me who struggled to get the best financial services in Ethiopia by studying accounting in college, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia might not be doing you best. That said, however it is the only governmental bank you’ll find in Ethiopia with all its whistles and blows.

Related article: Read the reviews of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) in 2024 (including products and services).

The Services offered by Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).

Here’s the services offered by Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE): 

  • Internet Banking: Abroad online money transferring, digital bill payments, and more.
  • Personal Banking: Savings accounts, investment accounts, and ATM debit cards, etc.
  • Business Banking Service: Trade finance, cash management, and loans as a seed investment based on your curated business plan.
  • Mobile Banking (CBE Birr and *889#): Account access, balance inquiry, transfers, etc.

Pros and Cons.

And here’s the pros and cons of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE):


  • Operates in the largest branch networks in Ethiopia (+1940 branches).
  • Through holding a large share of money deposits and loans in the country and even in Africa, CBE has a strong financial performance.
  • Expanding digital platform with mobile and internet banking options even though they are less user-friendly.


  • Long wait times in branches compared to newer banks, which serves you in a few seconds. 
  • Some customer reviews mention high fees for certain banking services.

Targeted Audience of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE):

In a nutshell, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) caters to a broad audience out there. For individuals, it offers a variety of accounts to suit different needs. And for small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations, it offers a wide range of dedicated business banking services, and financial products.

As a customer if you need money support, you can apply for different types of consumer loans for a variety purposes. Just from vacation and wedding expenses, car purchases and property (or house) buying process in Ethio, to a mortgage loan, the bank will be able to help you with lower interest rates than most other banks.

4. Wegagen Bank.

Wegagen Banks in Ethiopia

Established back in 1997, and is headquartered in Addis Ababa (around Stadium-Legar area), Wegagen Bank is another private commercial bank in Ethiopia. It offers a variety of banking products and services to individual (you) and corporate customers. 

Since its foundation in the 1990’s, the bank has been growing steadily, providing personal, business, Admas, and other loans. In point of fact, it is one of the few banks that provide mortgage loans, and related services to diaspora’s who wish to buy or construct residential houses or commercial buildings in Ethiopia.

Related article: Read the reviews of Wegagen Bank in 2024 (including products and services).

The Services offered by Wegagen Bank.

Here’s the services offered by Wegagen Bank: 

  • Personal Banking: Savings accounts, current accounts, mobile banking, and internet banking.
  • Business Banking: Trade finance, business account management, etc
  • Works with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Ethiopia: FDIC is a government agency that insures deposits in banks up to a certain amount.
  • Loans: Beyond accessing your account from anywhere, you’ll get loans with extended maturity dates on which it must be repaid in full.

Pros and Cons.

And here’s the pros and cons of the Wegagen Bank:


  • Technology Adoption like mobile banking, internet banking, interest-free saving features (Wadia Amana), etc.
  • Large Branch Network (+2000 branches, but concentrated in Addis Ababa).
  • ATM Machines Availability proportional to the bank’s branches.


  • Long wait times in branches compared to other banks, not like Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) though. 
  • Under control of the Central Bank (A government-controlled bank that is responsible for monetary policy in a country) following the war in Mekelle, Tigray.

Targeted Audience of Wegagen Bank:

In a nutshell, Wegagen Bank, with more than 200 branches across the country, seems to focus on both individuals and small businesses based on their service offerings they go after. Though there is unclear and fully disclosed information on corporate banking service fees.

With a loan access grant, the bank, on the flip side, makes it easy to invest in property ownerships from companies like Akoya, Abat, etc. Plus, with thousands of employees hired who provide excellent customer service, anyone is served well, including clients who don’t need to withdraw often but want to save money for a long period.

5. Bank of Abyssinia (BOA).

Bank of Abyssinia (BOA)

Established back in 1996, Bank of Abyssinia (BOA) is a top-notch bank in Ethiopia that offers a wide range of products to over 10 million customers. Its features include recurring transfer, which is an automatic transfer of funds between different accounts that occurs on a regular basis.

With employs close to 7000, it has become a dominant force in the industry with specialized (NEW), international, and domestic banking and financial services to individuals and businesses. This includes a convenient education saving account for those young-aged 14 to 18 years students.

The Services offered by Bank of Abyssinia (BOA).

Here’s the services offered by Bank of Abyssinia (BOA): 

  • Personal Banking: Savings accounts, current accounts, etc.
  • Business Banking: Business loans, trade services, international banking options, etc.
  • Mobile Banking and Online Banking: The mobile app allows various transactions to be made remotely, and the corporate online banking (the App found on Google Playstore) simplifies the business finance management.
  • Other Services: Agent banking, virtual banking centers through ITMs (Interactive Teller Machines), and others.

Pros and Cons.

And here’s the pros and cons of the Bank of Abyssinia (BOA):


  • Large and extensive branch networks across or all over Ethiopia.
  • Diverse product portfolio catering to individuals and businesses. This is much like Credit Union, which is a non-profit financial institution that is owned by its members.
  • Interest-free banking services called AbyssinAmeen that is Sharia-compliant banking with the Islamic principles.


  • Some online reviews mention high fees for their business banking product offerings.
  • Customer reviews suggest limitations in the ATM network, which might be compensated by ITMs (Interactive Teller Machines).

Targeted Audience of Bank of Abyssinia (BOA):

In a nutshell, Bank of Abyssinia, with a motto “The Choice for All,” appears to target individuals seeking personal savings, and IRA (Individual Retirement Account) that offers tax advantages loans. Plus, they have trade finance services and investment options in real estates (like Access Real Estate), and others for large associations.

The bank is constantly looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction through technology, bringing that rare experience every time for clients. Beside the mobile app that lets you login to your accounts from anywhere at any time via smartphones or tablets, the Virtual Banking is such a great innovation by BOA.

6. Berhan Bank.

Berhan Bank

Established back in 2009, Berhan Bank has grown to become one of the leading private share institutions in the country. The bank is well-known for its commitment to customer caring and a focus on financial inclusion. Thus, offering a range of financial services to individual and corporate clients. 

Even if it is a relatively new entrant into the banking industry, Berhan Bank has been continually growing 36% on a yearly-basis, showing only a slight reduction in profits. In addition, with an accumulation of 1.5 billion ETB total income, the company has been able to hold its own insurance-related services in Ethiopia.

The Services offered by Berhan Bank.

Here’s the services offered by Berhan Bank: 

  • E-Banking: Mobile Banking, Internet Banking, etc.
  • A wide range of accounts: Personal accounts like savings, Small and Medium Enterprise accounts like checking, and provident fund accounts.
  • Short-term and long-term loans: Loans based on Negotiable Instrument, which is a document that represents a promise to pay money and can be transferred to another person.
  • Other services: Card Services (Visa/Mastercard acquiring, ATM), M-POS Services, etc.

Pros and Cons.

And here’s the pros and cons of the Berhan Bank:


  • The bank seems to have an appropriate branch network in Addis Ababa.
  • Provides any loans (CONTACT ME related to owning a property in Addis Ababa) based on enough reasons on “Why,” and followed by a Promissory Note, which is a written promise to repay a loan at a certain time in the future.
  • Recently updated mobile banking app (Berhan Mobile), which indicates a focus on latest digital services.


  • Limited online presence besides their available website (https://berhanbanksc.com/).
  • Inconsistent services across locations, some branches have a good rating (4.2 stars), and another branch has a low rating (1 star) on Google Maps.

Targeted Audience of Berhan Bank:

In a nutshell, Berhanu Bank likely targets both individuals and small businesses, offering different accounts, and pre-shipment loan options. All services come with liability, which is a financial obligation that a company owes to another entity. Plus liquidity, which is the ease a deposit can be converted into tangible cash.

The bank’s largest provider of income, which made 410 million Ethiopian Birr profit before tax, much like other national banks, is from interest rate charges. As such, it has grown by 60.5% compared to the previous budget year to a slight 1.1 billion ETB in 2024.

7. Abay Bank.

Abay Banks in Ethiopia

Established back in 2010, Abay Bank, is the other leader in the Ethiopian financial empowerment sector. The Bank prides itself on its commitment to advancements and exceptional services. And its goal is to build successful partnerships and bridge the gap of the local financial accessibility.

With 2,689 employees across all its branches, it is nursing like the African pride “Abay River.” Just in the previous budget year, the bank reported that their net profits increased by 66 percent, reaching 317 million Birr. Not only that, but also it has entered the lucrative real estate industry of Ethiopia with the brand name Abay Homes.

The Services Offered by Abay Bank.

Here’s the services offered by Abay Bank: 

  • Personal Banking: Savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, etc.
  • Business Banking: Cash management, trade finance, loans with origination fee charged for processing the application, and agent banking that lets you conduct transactions through kiosks, stores, etc.
  • Mobile Banking and Online Banking: Manage accounts, conduct transactions, and access accounts remotely.
  • Specialized Accounts: Enbut (Children), Nigist (Women), Youth Savings, and Sadiiq service (interest-free banking) based on the Islamic religion group requirements.

Pros and Cons.

And here’s the pros and cons of the Abay Bank:


  • Open until 9 PM Monday-Saturday, working extended banking hours.
  • High Annual Percentage Yield (APY) interest rate on a savings account, expressed as a yearly rate and taking into account the frequency of compounding.
  • Convenient and secure remote access via mobile banking app beyond the traditional banking services.


  • Limited public information available on branch networks and fee structures.
  • Compared to established competitors, based on the age of the bank, Abay Bank is relatively new.

Target Audience of Abay Bank:

In a nutshell, Abay Bank likely targets individuals, families, and small businesses. Thus, it offers them a variety of universal banking services across numerous sectors including domestic trade, agriculture in the Amhara region, consultancy and financial support to entrepreneurs, and local real estates, for instance Addis Way, Addis Empire, etc.

With its primary source money generated from interest on advances, loans, and governing bank bills, the Abay Bank’s income has increased by 56.8%, reaching 873.3 million Ethiopian Birr in 2024. The earnings per shareholder, also known as EPS, also reached 284.20 Birr tha’s a 19.2% growth.

KEY Considerations for Choosing a Bank in Ethiopia

Going back to 1964, in order to act as the Ethiopian central bank, the National Bank of Ethiopia started its very first operations. From then, the rest is history when it comes to the Ethiopian banking system. Now, we have reached the age of TeleBirr, M-Pessa, CBE Birr, Amole. Michu, and other technologies.

The primary responsibilities of the National Bank of Ethiopia, as a whole, is issuing banking licenses, supervising banks, regulating the supply, availability, and price of credit, fighting against money laundering, managing and administering the country’s international reserves, initiating and controlling foreign exchange rates, and other roles.

On the global level, astonishingly, total money lending for the September quarter 2023 was recorded at 239.0 million, increasing by 2.1% when compared to the June quarter 2023. This is where choosing the right bank makes all the difference — after all.

Want actionable steps? Here are some factors to consider when choosing a bank in Ethiopia:

1. Account fees: Consider monthly maintenance charges, ATM withdrawal fees, internet banking service fees, and other fees that are important to you to manage your hard-earned money.

2. Minimum balance requirements: Some Ethiopian banks require a minimum balance deposit to be maintained in your account to avoid fees, which most of the time is 25 Birr or 50 Birr.

3. Internet banking features: Check if the bank offers online bill pay, mobile banking, and other features like electronic transfer of funds from an employer or other source directly into your bank account.

4. Customer service: Consider the bank’s reputation for customer service and how easy it is to reach a representative if you have any burning concerns, questions or problems.

    Overall Judge:

    Overall, from the beginning of the first bank formation in 1905, the first bank notes (based on the animal motifs) issuing in 1915, the Bank of Ethiopia launching in 1931 (following the liquidation of the Bank of Abyssinia), to nowadays sophisticated mobile banking features, going after the best banks makes or breaks your business.

    To put things into perspectives, finding the right bank in Ethiopia that provides you wire transfer, which is an electronic transfer of funds between banks that is typically used for large or urgent transactions, and other sophisticated services (like loan to invest in The Top Real Estates of the country), will largely depends on your priorities. 

    HERE’s your starting point: Look into private banks like Dashen and Awash, known for their reach and innovative banking services, and for tailored services in 2024, consider Bank of Abyssinia (BOA) or regional banks like Wegagen, Cooperative Bank of Oromia, or NIB.

    Do your thorough research to find a bank that aligns with your needs, and you’ll be okay in the end. And most of all, explore the balance sheet financial statement of the specific bank you are going to be a partner with. The sheet will show you the company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity at a specific point in time.

    Do you have more insights on that? Why don’t you share your real-life banking experiences with Ethiopian banks in the comments below? So that we can all learn from each other, which is appreciated well.

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