The Banque Régionale de Solidarité (BRS) was set up in 2005 by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), with investment from member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
The idea behind the creation of this banking network, which operates in 8 states within the Union, was to facilitate access to credit for economic agents who had been unable to obtain financing from 'traditional' banks.
Unfortunately, this network did not achieve the hoped-for success, neither in terms of economic efficiency nor in terms of financial performance.
In 2012, the founding shareholders tasked the West African Development Bank (BOAD) with drawing up a plan to restructure BRS Group and thereby enable it to fulfil its role in financing the subregional economy. In order to do this, the BOAD would work with a technical and financial partner that would become a majority shareholder in BRS Group.
Following an international call for tenders, the BOAD appointed Orabank to help it breathe new life into BRS Group.
The business and recovery plan was drawn up jointly by the BOAD and Orabank Group and is structured around the following key areas:
- changing the legal structure of the group from a holding company covering 8 national subsidiaries to a parent bank, based in Ivory Coast and operating in the 7 other UEMOA states through its branches;
- refocusing on making the BRS a full-service bank that offers refinancing to microfinance institutions within the subregion;
- selling shareholders assuming accumulated losses (negative shareholders' equity);
- rebranding BRS branches 'Orabank' to benefit from Oragroup's strong reputation;
- injecting an initial 15,000 million CFA francs (September 2013) to enable the new shareholders (the BOAD and Oragroup) to get the measure of the new organisation before continuing to increase shareholders' equity to promote growth and development within the new network.
In the first few months following their takeover of BRS Group, the BOAD and Oragroup restructured the group and rebranded its branches.
The targets set for the new organisations primarily relate to:
1. Their market positions, which were too limited at the time of the takeover.
2. Their levels of profitability, both in terms of their net banking income (20% minimum) and their balance sheet total (3% minimum).
2014 will therefore be the year when this new group properly relaunches its banking activities, as well as bringing its governance and ethical practices up to standard.