Casablanca- Brahim Benjelloun Touimi, the director general of BCME Bank and the chairman of the Bank of Africa, said that Al Baraka Banking Group will open a branch in Morocco in June – a step that falls under the partnership between BCME and Al Baraka Banking Group.
Benjelloun Touimi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the ambitions of the new bank exceed the Moroccan borders and look forward to expanding in Africa through supporting BCME that has become the second African banking group in terms of branches.
Asharq Al-Awsat asked, “You have acquired a license to open an associated bank, where have you gone so far with the preparations?”
Benjelloun Touimi replied: “We are currently putting the final touches by which both partner companies BCME and Al Baraka Banking Group are willing to launch operations of their joint bank next June.”
“What are your ambitions in this field?” asked the newspaper.
“They are realistic and reasonable ones. Right now, we can’t talk about numbers because it is still early. In all cases, we start with reasonable and realistic levels so that we can reach and maintain them,” he answered.
Commenting on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reservations on the African expansion of Moroccan banks, Touimi said that he met IMF Chief Christine Lagarde and he concluded that IMF reservations were not warnings or a call to back off but only to expand in an organized way.
Asharq Al-Awsat asked, “How do you evaluate the Moroccan banking performance amidst the shrinkage prevailing in the international economy?”
He replied, “It is not only us who claim that but also other national parties and multi-parties authorities witness and acknowledge that the Moroccan banking sector is stable and rate it as the most solid in the African continent.”
Speaking on Morocco’s preparation to endorse a flexible exchange system, Benjelloun Touimi said that hedging instruments provided by Moroccan banks to clients are considered essential for limiting doubts and suspicion regarding the future price of national currency because this can determine the exchange rate earlier and keep economy activists from worrying.
He added that the approach towards liberating the exchange system is the most adequate in the current condition and fits most the structure of the Moroccan economy.