Standard Chartered gets initial approval for first Egypt branch

Standard Chartered Bank has obtained preliminary approval from Egypt’s central bank to open its first branch in the country in the next six months, a local TV show Kelma Akhira cited informed sources as saying on Sunday.

The bank will open up its first branch in Egypt within the next six months after fulfiling the requirements to obtain the central bank’s final licence, Kelma Akhir’s Lamis El Hadidi added.

The UK bank has repeatedly tried in recent years to expand into the Egyptian market by acquiring local banks, including the Egyptian unit of Greece’s Piraeus Bank in late 2011.

The bank’s entry underscores that Egypt “is attractive to many foreign and regional banks,” EFG Hermes’ chief MENA economist Mohamed Abu Basha told El Hadidi.

Standard Chartered operates in 59 markets and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges. In November, the bank revealed it expects to be flat in 2021 on the back of the “uneven recovery” in its main Asian, African and Middle East markets. The emerging markets-focused lender has been reducing its physical presence in recent years, announcing last summer plans to shut half its branches and cut global office space by a third amid the pandemic.

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