RBZ mum on banks' compliance

HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it is not in a position to divulge the number of banks that have complied with its capitalisation plan and September 30 submission deadline.

RBZ spokesperson Alson Mfiri told businessdaily that the central bank was still compiling submissions from banks.

“There is nothing at this point in time, the head responsible for banking supervision has confirmed that there are still working on something to that effect and a full compilation of information will be made public in due course,” said Mfiri.

The apex bank had requested all financial institutions to submit a plan on how they would comply with its $100 million capital requirements by June 2014.

According to the RBZ, all banks are expected to have at least 25 percent of the new prescribed levels for its class by December this year, 50 percent by June 2013, 75 percent by December that year and 100 percent of that prescribed rate by June 2014.

It is highly anticipated that if some banks cannot raise the prescribed capitalisation levels, mergers or bringing in foreign equity partners will be the order of the day.

Despite the “gospel of indigenisation” by Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s upward review of capitalisation requirements was a “slap in the face” to the former as no indigenous bank, save for a few, have the muscle to capitalise their own operations alone without outside funding.

Analysts view the decision by RBZ’s decision as a move to cut down on the number of banks in the market by way of mergers that create stronger entities.

They also contend that the implementation of mergers will present fresh challenges such as retrenchments and other cost cutting measures aimed at streamlining consolidated operations.

Economist John Robertson recently highlighted that international banks will survive as they have international funding and support.

“Small banks will close if they don’t merge, but foreign banks have the support and will survive,” he said.

Robertson, however, said the proposed bank mergers will face implementation challenges.

“Retrenchments will happen as most banks will not be able to accommodate the staff especially the senior executives. The surviving banks are going to be faced with the problem of serious insubordination.”

Banks that have so far surpassed the prescribed $25 million by December include BancABC, Barclays  Bank, CBZ Bank, MBCA Bank, Stanbic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank among others with most having indicated submission of compliance plans before the deadline.

FBC Bank and ZB Bank have announced plans to combine their banking and building society business arm in order to consolidate their capitalisation levels while some banks have indicated that they are looking for new equity partners in order to strengthen and also comply with capitalisation requirements.

Already, government owned Agribank has announced on-going efforts to dispose 49 percent stake to private partners.

Besides commercial and merchant banks, whose thresholds were pegged at $12,5 million and $10 million respectively and now upped to $100 million, building societies are now expected to pump in $80 million, while finance and discount house capitalisations have been set at $60 million.

Micro-finance institutions will now be required to have $5 million from the current $1 million.Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.

    Post a comment

    Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
    Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
    - Editor

    Your email address will not be shared.