Bank of Algeria urges banks to install agencies throughout the territory
A recent study from the Union of Banks of Maghreb region reveals that Algeria has the lowest banking services coverage in the area.A recent study from the Union of Banks of Maghreb region (UBM) reveals that Algeria has the lowest banking services coverage in the area.
Tunisia is ranked first with one bank branch for every 9 ,530 people, Morocco possess one branch for 12,540 people and there is one branch for every 25,000 people in Algeria.
The government has introduced several measures to remedy this situation, including opening public bank branches in each wilaya (province) in Algeria, La Tribune reports.
However, the World Bank believes that although reforms are heading in the right direction, the process must be speeded up in order to spread bank branches across the whole national territory.
"The Central Bank of Algeria made it clear that it wants us to open branches in cities within the country's mainland, but not in the capital (…) only in cities where there are little branches" said a source quoted by TSA Algérie.website.
However, a banker who asked not to be named told Ecofin news agency that to "open a branch in smaller towns, you must find clients to make it profitable. And apart from the four big cities that are Algiers, Annaba, Constantine and Oran, there are very few SMEs elsewhere. And you can't open a branch only to receive consumer clients coming to open a standard bank account".
Furthermore, banks are criticising the slowness of the Central Bank of Algeria's approval procedure for new branches opening, Liberté Algérie newspaper reports.
In its annual report published in summer 2011, BNP Paribas El-Djazair reported 58 operational branches, with 13 awaiting an agreement.