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Ethiopia’s largest bank, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, recently experienced a glitch in its system that allowed customers to withdraw more money than they had in their accounts. Initially reported as a $40 million loss, the bank has now recovered nearly 80% of the cash lost, around $14 million. The value of transactions made during the error ranged from 9 cents to $5,350, with nearly 15,000 people voluntarily returning funds that were “taken illegally”.

According to the bank’s president, Abe Sano, around 567 individuals still have not returned money that does not belong to them. In an effort to recover the remaining funds, the bank publicly posted the names and account details of those who have not returned the money. The bank emphasized that while the remaining amount is not significant for the bank, it sends the wrong message if the money is not fully recouped. The glitch, caused by a routine system update and inspection, was not the result of a cyberattack, according to Ethiopia’s central bank.

The news of the glitch spread on social media on March 16, with many university students being among those who withdrew money during the error. Some universities have publicly encouraged their students to return the cash they withdrew. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, established in 1963, is the largest bank in the country with 40 million customers. The bank has made efforts to recover the lost funds and has successfully recouped a significant portion of the money that was wrongly withdrawn.

The bank’s president, Abe Sano, has stated that the remaining funds need to be recovered in order to send the right message and ensure accountability among customers. The bank’s decision to publicly shame individuals who have not returned the money is a strategic move to encourage them to give it back. The glitch was attributed to a routine system update and inspection, rather than a deliberate cyberattack, according to the central bank of Ethiopia.

Overall, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has made progress in recouping the funds lost during the system glitch, with nearly 80% of the money recovered. The bank’s efforts to publicly shame individuals who have not returned the money, as well as the cooperation of universities in encouraging their students to do the same, have contributed to the successful recovery of the funds. Despite the setback caused by the glitch, the bank remains the largest in Ethiopia with millions of customers and continues to prioritize financial stability and accountability within its operations.

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