Glitch allowed withdrawals of millions, bank pleads to return money

Ethiopia’s largest bank experienced a glitch that allowed users to make unlimited withdrawals, resulting in millions of dollars of losses.

As reported in local media, more than $40 million was withdrawn from the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) or transferred to other banks over the weekend.

The technical glitch allowed clients to withdraw funds regardless of their balance. Customers discovered the glitch early Saturday, and within a couple of hours, the bank had temporarily stopped its services until the issue was resolved.

In a post on X, CBE president Abe Sano denied that the technical issues were a cyberattack and reassured customers that the funds in personal accounts were safe. He was “disappointed” by the inconvenience caused to the customers due to the incident.

The bank also announced that ATM operations are back to normal. Reportedly, in the press conference on Monday, the president claimed that most of the withdrawals were committed by students.

Several universities in western Ethiopia have encouraged students to return money that does not belong to them. Sano reportedly stated during the press conference that individuals who return the funds will not face criminal prosecution.

However, the student from Jimma University told BBC on Monday that he had not heard of anyone giving the money back.

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