August 25, 2017 / 4:42 PM / 2 months ago

Botswana makes headway in setting up first indigenous commercial bank

GABORONE, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Botswana has taken a significant step towards establishing its first home-grown commercial bank, a development that will add a new player in an industry that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says is already crowded.

Botswana Building Society (BBS) Managing Director Pius Molefe said on Friday 99.97 percent of its shareholders had approved a resolution to demutualise the 41 year old society, allowing it to convert into a commercial bank.

Demutualisation is the process through which a mutually owned body becomes a limited company.

BBS would apply for a banking licence in December, Molefe said, adding the application would take about six months to be evaluated and BBS hopes to start operating as a commercial bank in the first quarter of 2019.

Botswana has 10 commercial banks, all foreign owned, and the IMF has argued in a country report that there is room for consolidation in the sector. ($1 = 10.2249 pulas) (Reporting by Johannesburg newsroom; Editing by David Holmes)

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