IN a bid to clear the backlog and increase efficiency in the banking sector, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe have agreed to implem
ent a same-day clearance system for cheques.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe will implement same day clearing of bank obligations arising from cheques deposited in Harare and Bulawayo,” a statement issued by the RBZ said.
All cheques deposited before 1300 hrs in Harare and Bulawayo will be processed and cleared on the same day.
“Deposits made after this cut-off time will form part of the following day’s clearing,” the statement said.
The existing banking hours will remain unchanged.
However, the RBZ said members of the public should note that while banks will exchange cheques deposited before the cut-off time on the day of deposit, customers will not have immediate access to their funds.
At commercial banks in Harare and Bulawayo, it will take four working days and seven working days in other areas.
At building societies and the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), it will take seven working days in Harare and Bulawayo and 12 working days in other areas.
In order to enhance efficiency in the clearing and settlement process, the RBZ will soon be opening additional clearing houses in Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.
Analysts however said the decision by the central bank could create problems for banks facing liquidity problems.
“The decision by the RBZ could actually affect a number of banks especially those that are having liquidity problems,” an analyst said.
“At the end of the day, banks that would have been found to be in short money might end up paying huge fines and this could again expose the firms to more serious liquidity nightmares.”