Angola’s central bank wants large national bank to reduce weighting of foreign banks

17 October 2007

Lisbon, Portugal, 17 Oct – The solution for the “excessive” foreign presence, particularly Portuguese, in Angola’s financial sector is to create a large Angolan bank, through mergers, the governor of the National Bank of Angola said in Lisbon Tuesday.

The new bank, Amadeu Maurício told Portuguese news agency Lusa, “can be private or public, and can have support from the public sector,” and its creation could be carried out through the “reorganization of the sector, thus bringing an end to the dispersal of resources,” in the Angolan banking system.

In order to prevent “extreme” measures, suggested by some sectors, Angola “can create conditions for a well-defined strategy to result in a strong Angolan institution that can reach market leadership.”

Maurício noted the discomfort that had emerged from sectors of Angolan society in relation to the weighting of foreign banks, which have led the central bank to take the issue in hand.

“In strategic terms, it could be seen as disturbing that we have lost control of an important sector, in this case the banking and financial sector, if dominant institutions were entirely foreign-owned,” he said.

According to Maurício, the requirement to have Angolan shareholders in the country’s financial institutions, which has been openly welcomed in Angola, is “an extreme and undesirable measure.”

“It would be extreme to set a standard that as of now no more foreign, or Portuguese banks can enter the market, or that they must have partly Angolan capital; I don’t think it’s a nice measure,” he told Lusa.

He therefore said that the best solution was to promote the creation of a “large bank,” by bringing together several Angolan interests.

Angola has 19 licensed banks and 17 in operation, three of which are public, including Banco de Poupança e Crédito, which vies for market leadership with Fomento Angola (of Portuguese group BPI). (macauhub)