Citibank has informed the National Bank of Angola that it intends to return to the country, about 16 years after it closed its representative office in Luanda, Angolan newspaper Valor Económico reported.
Citibank’s interest, the paper quoted sources familiar with the negotiations as saying, is driven by pressure from oil companies on their financial partners and the difficulties experienced in payments for operations in dollars.
A concrete sign of this intention was Citibank senior managers taking part in the Angola Oil & Gas 2019 conference, held in Luanda from 4 to 6 June.
The governor of the Angolan central bank last week announced the arrival in Luanda this month of a delegation from the Federal Reserve of the United States of America to see if the Angolan authorities have taken the necessary measures to re-establish bank correspondence of the banking system.
The lack of access to dollars led the Angolan central bank to carry out its auctions in euros, which became the benchmark for determining the kwanza’s price against a basket of currencies, including the dollar.
The governor recalled the time, between 2015 and 2016, when US correspondent banks ended their relationship with the Angolan banking system, but gave assurances that this is being “overcome” as confidence is restored.
The Angolan banking system has only three representative offices of foreign banks, Commerzbank of Germany, and Firstrand Bank and NedBank, both from South Africa.
If negotiations with the US Federal Reserve go well, a return to the Angolan financial system of Bank of America and the largest German bank, Deutsche Bank, is also expected.