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Ethiopian bank glitch enables million-dollar withdrawals.

Photo-Kaab TV

Ethiopia's Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the largest bank in the nation, finds itself grappling with a significant financial conundrum following a technical malfunction that allowed customers to withdraw more funds than they had in their accounts. The BBC reports that the bank is now faced with the daunting task of recovering an estimated $40 million.

Initial reports from local media suggest that university students were among the first to exploit the glitch, swiftly spreading news of the opportunity through social media channels and making substantial withdrawals. While the exact extent of the withdrawals remains unclear, the bank has confirmed approximately half a million transactions during the period of the glitch. However, a local newspaper speculates that losses could reach as high as $42 million.

Thankfully, Ethiopian authorities have dismissed the possibility of a cyberattack, attributing the incident to a routine system update gone awry. Nonetheless, the malfunction necessitated the temporary shutdown of the banking system as technicians worked to resolve the issue. During this period, customers experienced temporary difficulties accessing cash, leading to long queues forming at ATMs on university campuses.

One student at Jimma University Institute of Technology expressed disbelief upon hearing reports of the glitch from friends in the early hours of the morning. He recounted how individuals were able to withdraw large sums from ATMs or transfer funds using the bank's mobile app until police intervention brought an end to the activity.

Similarly, a student at Dilla University in southern Ethiopia recounted how numerous peers capitalized on the glitch to withdraw funds from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia between midnight and 2:00 local time. The incident underscores the widespread impact of the technical malfunction, affecting individuals across different regions of the country.

The disruption in banking operations persisted for several hours as technicians worked diligently to rectify the issue, resulting in customers being temporarily unable to access cash. Established in 1963, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia boasts a vast customer base of approximately 40 million individuals, further highlighting the significance of the glitch and its repercussions on the nation's financial landscape.

March 20, 2024 10:36 a.m. 17658

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