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Confusion reigns supreme at banks

Ngoni Chanakira

CONFUSION and uncertainty surrounds the country’s banks today as they decide whether or not to alter their minimum balances on personal accounts as commanded by new Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe g

overnor Gideon Gono.

Last month several commercial banks led by Kingdom Bank Ltd told customers that they would increase minimum balance requirements on personal savings accounts.

Kingdom said the balance would go up from $25 000 to $250 000, a sum considered too high for the country’s lowly-paid workforce.

NMB Bank was last year already asking high profile clients to fork out $250 000 as minimum balances for personal savings accounts.

Royal Bank Zimbabwe Ltd was asking for a minimum balance of $150 000.

In his Monetary Policy Statement Gono said his “Vision” sought to protect the loss of personal, hard-earned financial resources and encourage a culture of saving among the country’s citizens.

“With effect from January 1 2004 all banking institutions in Zimbabwe are directed to lower their minimum bank balances to not more than $25 000 for savings accounts and $50 000 for current accounts. The profit motive of banks needs to be balanced with the privilege of holding a banking licence in a society experiencing some economic difficulties,” Gono said.

In a dramatic move on Wednesday the country’s largest building society, the Central African Building Society (Cabs) began putting up notices immediately after closure informing customers that it was increasing minimum savings balances to $25 000. This amount is the minimum required by Gono in his monetary policy statement.

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