Bank charges reduced

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe have signed a memorandum of agreement to lower bank charges with immediate effect as the central bank vowed to shield banking institutions from the indigenisation and empowerment policy.

Report by Bernard Mpofu

Presenting his first Monetary Policy Statement for the year, central bank governor Gideon Gono yesterday said local bankers and the monetary authority had inked a pact to reduce bank charges amid concerns that the service charges were discouraging savings in the formal banking system.

“It is heartening to note that after 75 days of negotiations, the Reserve Bank and the banking sector came up with an agreed framework which will see substantial reduction in bank charges. The agreed memorandum of understanding was signed this afternoon (yesterday),” said Gono.

Under this arrangement, banks will with effect from today charge up to 0,5% of cash withdrawal amount subject to minimum charge of $2,50 while ledger fees, maintenance and service fees will cost up to $4 per account.

The central bank and the bankers also agreed to push for the mandatory use of debit cards. Automated teller machines, according to the MOU will now attract a withdrawal fee of $2.

Point-of-sale machines will now attract a fee of between US10 cents and US50 cents while no charges shall be levied on cash deposits. Gono also announced a reprieve for senior citizens above the age of 60 which will exempt them from all bank charges, including maintenance fees except where such accounts are used for conducting business-related activities.

Meanwhile, in a veiled attack on Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere who is pushing for the acquisition of foreign-owned banks under the policy, Gono vowed to protect the fragile banking sector, saying a blanket approach to the policy would destabilise the economy.

The empowerment law compels foreign-owned companies operating in Zimbabwe to sell 51% equity to locals.

“All banks are urged to observe the laws of the country including the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment laws,” said Gono.

“A one-size-fits all approach does not work. We have also advised everyone that apart from the Constitution of Zimbabwe, there is no other piece of legislation that is superior to another.

Therefore, until such time that there has been a harmonisation of the laws, which has repealed certain sections of the Banking Act which requires us to do certain things, any pronouncement that encroaches on the financial services sector—(however allowed), will remain pronouncements until members know where to go and we will consult . . .

“When I met the Indigenisation minister earlier on  this morning, I said to him there is no bull in a China shop when it comes to those matters and therefore frequent and flagrant attacks on banks by some who may not be as knowledgeable as we are is not something that we will continue to keep quiet on and watch putting our hands at akimbo.”

Turning to compliance of banks to the revised minimum capital requirements announced last year, the central bank chief said 67% of banks had partially complied with the capital levels. He said the central bank was currently examining compliance plans for other non-compliant institutions.

Among some of the banks that failed to raise $25 million by December 31 2012 are State-owned Agribank, FBC Building Society, ZB Building Society, ZABG and Capital Bank (formerly ReNaissance Merchant Bank).

He, however, said the banks had shown “significant progress” towards raising the prescribed capital. Gono said ZABG had approached the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board seeking nearly $40 million to shore up the bank.

The central bank chief also warned bank executives against pronouncing their capital levels without approval from the central bank.

“Forthwith, banking institutions should cease making unilateral self-exultations in the media as regards compliance with prudential requirements, including minimum capital without seeking prior Reserve Bank approval. Any such unsanctioned declaration will attract appropriate regulatory action. We cannot have people waking up and saying we have complied,” said Gono.

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  1. ZABG ZABG?! Now wanting to borrow from the empowerment fund, its all a mafia. All this talk of different people benefiting from empowerment is TOSH coz same fat cats will always be the first to raid any state funds/resources available at any given time.Haana mari munhu uyu kushainira isu varombo coz this issue stinks of him wanting to raid Empowerment funds.

  2. What happened to Biti’s pronouncement that there will be no bank charges for amounts less than is it $800? In other countries you are charged account maintenance fees if your balance goes below a certain minimum. Because the bank should be and is making money with clients’ money kept in their bank.

  3. You get charged $2 to withdraw your own money.You get charged $4 for giving a bank money to keep it on your behalf.You get charged for unauthorised overdraft!!!!Pew am i missing something here.They reward you up to a pathetic 4% interest yet they lend it to someone for a whopping 22%.In the Uk most of all those charges dont exist apart of course from bouncing cheques/debit orders and unauthorised overdrafts.Zimbabwe makes headlines for all the wrong reasons

    1. A bank can’t give your money to somebody coz unogona kuida without notice except if it’s a fixed deposit they know kuti uchaida riini. reasoning pachidofo doesn’t make sense. No charges for less than 800 bucks means most banks in small towns would shut. Comparing us with UK or USA or Japan in anything is lunacy- hupenzi!!! If you cry for a $2 charge it may mean it’s high time you sleep less and work more. It’s uneconomic to be poor as they say. A bank has systems to be mantained- network, security, security for your funds- which may be at zero balance at timesetc

      1. You are totally lost Munjanja. Those are overheads that should not be footed by those who do business with the bank. Instead the banks should pay interest. Imagine a client at some farm being levied some money to go towards paying electricity bills for the farm. The client should just buy his/her tomatoes and go, full stop. Not to be told to pay for maintenance of the farm fence.Ridiculous! Do you understand that if you just deposit yo money and leave it there for some time u will be shocked to find it gone, if you do not top it, instead of getting it increased? So what’s the meaning of a Savings Account? Let’s do professional banking where the depositors get interest, u will see a lot of improvement in deposits.And again the Governor is not aware that these amounts he is announcing are the ones we have been charged all along and these are the ones we have been complaining about, saka hapana chaaita apa, haafi akaona mari yedu mumabhangi, kunze kwepay chete inongopfuura nemo.

      2. umm, actually they can and they do take ur mny nekuti ey operate under the assumption that evry1 is not going to demand their mny @ e same time. Mari inoendeswa kumaOvernight investments nemashort term markets (mny market), so in other words…dofo ndiwe

  4. i so hate banks right now! thieves!!!!.

  5. Gono z a thief z well why should we pay anything to the bank when they make profits out of our money, a bunch of financial lunatics, they should encourage depositors by offering conjusive interest rates to the depositors, to hell

  6. ZABG is an obert mpofu,they just run banks without knowledge of running banks and in the process they end up running out banks. they use the diamond money at a they want to milk empowerment board.they cry foul when MDCt says empowerment is only meant for rich zanus.

  7. ko varume,METRO BANK nderan’?Not’n’ z ever ment!oned abt ‘ts structr.plz let us knw.

    1. Metro Bank ndera Gono na First lady Grace vakatenga from Kamushinda.

    2. Metro bank is another hell of a bank. It was audited by RBZ in October/November 2012 I wonder what was uncovered. There is no way such a bank could have operated above board. These are day light robbers masquirading as a bank. Where & when shall we get protection?

  8. Mutengesimukuru

    I was thinking all along, the purpose of banks is to make through lending, not through fees. I will not deposit my money in Zimbabwe.

    1. Taura zvako Mutengesimukuru. The banks do not have qualified bankers. Havatozivi kuti intermediation chii. Vanotongoziva kuchaja mafees chete. They cannot think of professional means of creating money. This is literally armchair banking.

  9. IT is bad people kuti, unoporomota bank asi rokuCharger futi, Better to get salaries muma Envelopes nokuti ——

  10. Gono is an enermy of the state. Weakleaks proved that he is an under cover agent of MDC T. No wonder Kereke said he is the one who wrote for him. The man is clueless on monetary issues. The combination of Biti & Gono is bad news to Zim’s future. Biti said charges to be scrapped but Gono is saying something else. $2 to draw your money is unjustifiable whilst the same bank uses your money to make money. Why is he protecting this sector so unreasonably? Kasukuwere is right to some extend

  11. Mwanawemuporofita

    Handisati ndaona musiyano wacho zvazvinenge zvatove worse. tangatichiti toisa mari yengoda mubank nokuti yawandisa manje ahh, ndototye kubirwa nemabank

    1. kumunotyei ko imi muine “miracle money” negoride pataundi? Hanti ndimi munozviita anhu acho? Anhu ecash

  12. Teabhoyi anotaureiko. That bastard is an idiot to the core. Down with teabhoyi Gidhiyoni Gonorea

  13. mbavha idzi, hapana zviripo apa Gono, nekuti unbank saka u are partisan. we want a fresh mind not u anymore foryour current post of the popular Reverse Bank of Gono. u caused all the problems now u pretend to be saviour whereas u created all the mess. u stole mari dzechechi, dzevanhu mumabank handaiziva kuti une mwoyo wakadaro. I wonder why why u keep on accumulating all your wealth apa hauna nguva yekuenjoyer your stolen wealth. I dont know if im lying or not. unoziva zvirimumwoyo mako. all those banks u are trying to protect are there to protect the interests of their mother countries. Zim will never develop with vultures that we found in our country. Go ahead and continue oppress the masses, but hatyife takachengeta our little money in banks that little disinterest

  14. benard mpofu there is a diffence btwn mmorandum of agreement and memorandum of understanding, u cannot use th two interchangeably. yo story is meaningless

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