Capital Bank recovers

HARARE - Capital Bank Limited (Capital Bank) — formerly ReNaissance Merchant Bank (RMB) — is now on a firm footing that it has even managed to repay most of its depositors, managing director Lawrence Tamayi says.

The institution recently completed a rebranding and restructuring exercise following the emergence of the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) as a major shareholder.

Nssa — a pension fund — holds an 84 percent stake in the bank after converting its $8,5 million deposit into equity and committing a further $26 million into the merchant bank.

“The bank is now sufficiently capitalised. However, we wait to hear the new capital thresholds from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ),” Tamayi told businessdaily Monday.

“While it has been difficult, we have retained some depositors. In the last four months, we have honoured our obligations (and) paid off all vulnerable groups, including schools and universities,” he added.

The bank has also structured 12 month-repayment plans with huge creditors and was paying a ten percent interest rate on these deposits.

On the other hand, it has also agreed on a 24-month repayment period with foreign lenders owed approximately $13 million — such as the PTA Bank and Norad.

In a bid to improve profitability, Capital Bank was also considering a move into commercial banking and such a strategy would give his institution scope for more products, while also widening its target market reach.

“The board is anxious. We have deliberated on this issue (at board level), but have not applied for a licence from the regulator,” Tamayi said, without giving time frames about the planned venture.

“We already do a lot of activities that other banks do. It’s just that we are a merchant bank,” he added.

A career banker, Tamayi also said Capital Bank was now focussed on improving its people or soft skills with a view of building more customer confidence and addressing governance issues at the once venerable institution.

“Our improvement in governance has strengthened depositors’ confidence,” he said, although he could not readily give the number of active accounts at the bank.

“We are moving on with… innovation, ethics and relationships. We want our staff to respect depositors and ensure that we rebuild the customer base,” the Capital Bank boss added.

“Considering the challenges the banking industry has gone through, it is up to us to value relationships and rebuild depositors’ confidence,” Tamayi said, stressing without depositors there was no bank and banking was all about confidence.

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