Last week, Standard Chartered Bank announced that it will be withdrawing from Zim along with Angola Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Sierra Leone. The decision to do this is because these territories accounted for 1% of the bank’s income in 2021.
We reached out to Standard Chartered Bank to get more information about what will happen next, and this is what they had to say:
“As set out at FY 2021 results, Standard Chartered is accelerating its strategy to deliver efficiencies, reduce complexity, and drive scale and is redirecting resources within the Africa and Middle East (AME) region to those areas where it can have the greatest scale and growth potential, allowing the Bank to better support clients.
The Bank is reviewing a number of divestment options and a sales process will commence in due course. Standard Chartered is proud of its presence in Africa and the Middle East and remains committed to serving its many customers. While these processes complete, the Bank will continue to serve clients in Zimbabwe as normal.
Standard Chartered continues to operate in 18 markets across AME (10 of these in Africa) and will continue to serve corporate and institutional clients and facilitate cross border capital flows and offshore business in all these markets from its international network.
Standard Chartered remains your go-to network bank to help achieve clients’ cross-border and global ambitions. The Group will remain onshore in 52 markets around the world and serve clients in a further 83.”Standard Chartered
This is pretty much echoing what the bank has already said. However, the only new piece of information is when it said that it will be reviewing a number of divestment options which essentially means ways of getting out by selling off the Zimbabwe aspect of its business. This was also reinforced by the line “sales process will commence in due course” which could mean a lot of things.
A possible conclusion to this statement is that Standard Chartered is looking for or has found a buyer for the Zim arm of the business. This could mean that we might see something similar to Barclays’ withdrawal from Zimbabwe when it sold the business to Malawi’s First Merchant Bank (Leading to the First Capital Bank rebrand).
However, this is speculation because it might also mean that they haven’t yet got a clear exit strategy in place, or maybe they have but are not yet at liberty to disclose it…
All of this is confusing but as Standard Chartered said we will know more in due course…
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