British lender Standard Chartered (StanChart) has announced that it is exiting several countries in Africa and the Middle East, including Zimbabwe.
In a statement on Thursday, the group said it will leave Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
Standard Chartered will also close its retail banking units in Tanzania and Ivory Coast, to focus only on corporate banking.
Standard Chartered Group CEO, Bill Winters, said the firm was looking to simplify its global structure.
The group will, however, continue to serve clients in the markets from its international network. Said Winters:
We are sharpening our focus on the most significant opportunities for growth while also simplifying our business.
We remain excited by the number of opportunities we see in the AME region, as illustrated by our new markets, but remain disciplined in our assessment of where we can deliver significantly improved shareholder returns.
Standard Chartered is the oldest financial institution in the country, having first set up in 1892 as Standard Bank in Bulawayo.
In 1969, Standard Bank merged with Chartered Bank to form Standard Chartered and was fully incorporated in Zimbabwe in 1983.
In 2019, StanChart was fined US$18 million by the US government for violating American sanctions on Zimbabwe.