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BANGE, the locally owned bank

Article - September 21, 2012
The National Bank of Equatorial Guinea, only six years old, is already succeeding in the local and international market
Although the National Bank of Equatorial Guinea (known as BANGE, for the Spanish acronym) is one of the youngest financial institutions in the country, it has quickly become a key option for investors, offering them safety and stability and emphasizing financing infrastructure and development in the country.

BANGE, which operates retail and corporate banking, was established in 2006 by the Guinean government and a minority stakeholder, the Philippines Bank of Commerce, when the nearly $4 million was allocated for the bank’s creation. Despite the government’s shares, BANGE is actually a private bank. However, in 2008 the African Development Corporation took a 25% stake in the bank.

Although many of the other banks operating in the country are foreign owned, BANGE is the first locall- owned bank to enter the market since 1985. According to the African Development Corporation, this financial institution is currently valued at about $75 million.

“the bank has participated in financing projects that have
given it the opportunity to compete with the other main players in the financial market.” 

Fernando Gomez Pastor, Managing Director of BANGE

Fernando Gomez Pastor, Managing Director or BANGE, explains that although the bank is only six years old and has limited resources compared to its competitors, it has still been able to participate in important projects. These projects are numerous throughout the country at the moment because of the government’s Horizon 2020 plan, targeting a diverse and stable economy as well as eliminating poverty.

Mr. Gomez points out: “Within our limitations the bank, since the beginning and especially in the last two to three years, has participated in financing projects that have given it the opportunity to compete with the other main players in the financial market.”

In fact, the total amount of loans allocated has reached $103 million and the bank deposits have grown to nearly $225 million. 

BANGE primarily finances infrastructure ventures as well as undertakings of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), striving to support economic growth in the country to further improve the quality of life.

For Mr. Gomez, the banking sector is in a key position to continue to foment the development of the country.

“I think the banks need to keep playing a fundamental role in the process of industrialization and in the development of an alternative energy sector,” remarks Mr. Gomez.

Although much of BANGE’s financing goes to support local businesses, it is also a safe and stable option for foreign investors. Since the oil boom in Equatorial Guinea there has been an influx of international investments. Mr. Gomez explains that although the government has really been the engine of the economy, little by little private investors, such as foreign companies or international investors are replacing it because of the easily identifiable benefits and profits.

“This is an open country that doesn’t put limitations on foreign investment,” he explains, adding that currently the biggest   foreign investor in Equatorial Guinea is the United States.  “It’s a country that has a legal system that provides enough guarantees to foreign investors, offering them profitable opportunities with respect to other markets.

”Furthermore, because of Equatorial Guinea’s strategic location on the western coast of Africa just south of Cameroon, and developing infrastructure, the country has potential to become a logistics hub for the region.

Mr. Gomez sees a bright future for the country not only on an international level, but also for the nation’s youth. He personally is committed to developing the future financial leaders in Equatorial Guinea, hoping to some day open a financial academy or a university.   

The Managing Director notes that his personal mission is to be a mentor for the next generation of financial leaders in the country so that they can continue with its responsible and prosperous development.