ZB Financial Holdings is set to get $5,9 million that had been embargoed and is opening correspondent banking accounts to access lines of credit, after the group was last year removed from the United States sanctions list.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The group was placed on the specially designated nationals by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Treasury in 2008.
ZB Financial Holdings chief executive officer, Ron Mutandagayi told NewsDay on the sidelines of their analysts briefing for their financial year ending December 31 2016 on Thursday they were seeking to re-establish their correspondent banking accounts.
“After having a couple of sanctions lifted on October 4 2016, we had to re-establish our correspondent banking accounts. We have re-established our South African bank account and it is now operational, we can undertake transactions. We have re-established our Euro account and it is operational, while recently our United States dollar account has become operational as well,” he said.
“So that allows us to now be able to go out and source for credit lines, because we need a corresponding account for us to be able to access them. We are expecting an amount that had been embargoed to go into our accounts and according to our books that is $5,9m.”
In its financial results for the year ended December 31 2016, the group’s profit after tax increased to $11,43m from $9,36m realised in 2015.
Mutandagayi said the increase in profitability was on the back of increased operational efficiency, despite net interest income remaining flat at $16,7m in the period under review from the previous year.
ZB Financial Holding’s banking division has been plagued in recent months with long bank queues of depositors seeking to withdraw cash, which the bank has been struggling to supply due to low cash in their coffers.
“The [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe] governor has always said that it does not make sense for you to use foreign currency to import cash when you need to fund your nostro account. Which is why bond notes were introduced so that you have a transacting currency on the domestic market and foreign currency is used for things that foreign currency should be used for,” he said.
Mutandagayi said the group was hoping to get some breathing space in order to adequately supply their clients under their banking division with cash.