ECO-BANK is believed to be on the verge of buying a significant stake in Interfin Merchant Bank which is valued at US$50 million.
The amount is ten times bigger than the Reserve Bank of Zimbabweâ€™s minimum capital requirement on Merchant banks by September 30.
According to information to hand a delegation from Eco-Bank, a pan-African banking group with a presence in more African countries than any other bank, is currently in the country conducting due diligence before finalising on the deal.
Although no official comment could be obtained from both Interfin and Eco-Bank market sources said the deal could be sealed by September.
â€œThe infusion of fresh capital, at a time of considerable turmoil on the global market, and our stabilising financial sector demonstrates confidence African banks have in Zimbabwe,â€ an analyst said on Wednesday regarding the deal.
Market analysts said in the face of current market conditions, and the Reserve Bankâ€™s minimum capital requirements it would be ideal for bank to further capitalise their reserve through a combination of foreign investors, equity and equity-related instruments.
By September 30, commercial banks will be required to have a minimum capital of US$6,25 million, while building societies and merchant banks will be required to have minimum capital of US$5 million each.
Minimum capital for Finance and Discount Houses will be required to be at US$3,75 million per institution. Asset managers are supposed to have US$1,25 million as minimum capital.
A financial holding company with a commercial bank, a discount house and an asset management company will require US$11,25 million by the September deadline and US$22,50 million March 31, 2010.
Eco-Bank which has its roots in Togo is the leading independent regional banking group in West and Central Africa, serving wholesale and retail customers.
The bank with deep roots in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region has positioned itself as an African bank for Africans by Africans. It has over 600 branches in 25 countries and Zimbabwe could become the 27th country where the bank has set foot.
Interfin started trading in January 2000. Its strategic intent is to build a truly Zimbabwean world class financial institution, supported by strong international partners.
Since its establishment, Interfin Merchant Bank has experienced phenomenal growth and has managed to position itself as a strong brand that represents innovative and superior quality service delivery. â€”Â Staff Writer