Standard Chartered To Exit Key African, Middle East Markets

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Standard Chartered Plc says it will fully exit operations in seven countries in Africa and the Middle East (AME) region as part of plans to upscale its businesses.

The countries include Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

In a recent statement, the bank said it would also exit its consumer, private and business banking businesses in Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire.

The multinational company added it would focus solely on its corporate, commercial and institutional banking in both countries.

According to the bank, it would be leaving these markets as it generated around one per cent of its total group 2021 income and a similar proportion of profit before tax.

Standard Chartered To Exit Key African, Middle East Markets

“As set out during its full year 2021 results presentation, Standard Chartered PLC (“the Group”) is accelerating its strategy to deliver efficiencies, reduce complexity and drive scale,” the statement reads.

“Today the Group announces a set of actions to redirect resources within its Africa and the Middle East (“AME”) region to those areas where it can have the greatest scale and growth potential, to better support its clients.

“Subject to regulatory approval, the Group now intends to exit onshore operations in seven markets in AME, and a further two markets focus solely on its Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking (“CCIB”) business.”

It added that it had invested heavily in recent years in the AME region, including fundamentally transforming its digital capabilities in its African markets.

“It has also been expanding its footprint to cover some of the largest and fastest-growing economies, having recently opened its first branch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and obtained preliminary approval for a banking license in the Arab Republic of Egypt ” Standard Chartered added.

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“The seven markets where there will be a full exit of operations are Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

“In Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire, the consumer, private, and business banking businesses will be exited, and the focus will turn solely to CCIB.

“The Group remains focused on serving its clients where it can make the most impact. The Group will continue to serve corporate and institutional clients and facilitate cross-border capital flows and offshore business in all the above markets from its international network.

“The Group is currently present in 59 markets and serves clients in a further 83.”

Bill Winters, chief executive officer (CEO), Standard Chartered Group, said: “As we set out earlier in the year, we are sharpening our focus on the most significant opportunities for growth while also simplifying our business.

“We remain excited by a number of opportunities we see in the AME region, as illustrated by our new markets, but remain disciplined in our assessment of where we can deliver significantly improved shareholder returns.

“Collectively, our actions will position the AME franchise for the next phase of growth after a very strong 2021 performance. We are grateful to our colleagues and partners in each of these impacted markets for their hard work and dedication and are committed to supporting them through this transition.”

In January, Standard Chartered announced the closure of 50 per cent of its branches in Nigeria to embrace digital banking.