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Morocco-based CFG Bank to swing to profit in 2021, CEO says

CFG Bank SA expects to swing back to profit in 2021 following four years of losses as the Moroccan lender develops its retail banking activities, CEO Younes Benjelloun told Reuters.

Benjelloun said the bank expected to "lose money for [a] few years before achieving balanced earnings" under its business plan. "In 2020 we are likely to make profit but in 2021 we will be profitable for sure," Benjelloun added.

The investment bank, which provides brokerage, asset management and corporate financial services, began offering retail banking services in 2015 and targeted mostly retail clients.

The bank's first-half losses widened by 5% on a yearly basis to 51.5 million Moroccan dirhams. Benjelloun said the losses were mainly due to its heavy investment in IT, network development and additional hiring of some 200 employees.

CFG Bank will also weigh plans for an IPO once its profitability is restored, Benjelloun reportedly said, adding that the lender is also looking to increase the number of its branches to 20 from the current 14 by 2020.

The CEO also ruled out establishing commercial banks in sub-Saharan Africa, but said the bank remains open to brokerage or asset management businesses in markets across Africa, according to the report.

As of Oct. 8, US$1 was equivalent to 9.49 Moroccan dirhams.