THE Deposit Protection Corporation (DPC) will soon be able pay depositors their money back as soon as a bank goes under curatorship, a senior official has revealed.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
DPC CEO John Chikura said a government gazette published recently gives the DPC the mandate to pay affected depositors soon after the bank is placed under curatorship. Previously, the corporation could only pay depositors if a bank has been under curatorship for a year.
This will come as a relief to scores of bank depositors who have failed to access their money when banks are placed under curatorship. Depositors at Interfin Bank Ltd are still to get access to their money more than a year after the institution was placed under curatorship.
Chikura expressed concern that given their mandate, they were yet to receive the US$7,6 million from banks as instructed by the government to capitalise the Depositor Protection Fund by the end of the year.
The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe in its pre-2014 budget, recommended that a cap of 0,3% and a cap of US$50 000 be considered as contributions to the DPC.
Banks said supplementary payments must be suspended this year pending a comprehensive actuarial study to determine the optimal level of the fund and a review of the Deposit Protection modus operandi.
“We have not yet received any money from the banks. Not even a penny,” Chikura said. “I am concerned. I lose sleep over that because my job is to take care of the depositors.”
He said there was need to inject capital into the fund given the current situation where some banking institutions were struggling and could shut down leaving thousands of depositors stranded.
Chikura said depositors have been traumatised since the closure of several banks in 2004 when clients lost money, some in more than one bank and there was need to have funding to restore confidence in the banking sector.
Although DPC will be involved in the voluntary liquidation of Capital Bank as part of its expanded mandate under the Deposit Protection Corporation Act Chapter 24:29, he said they would not pay depositors as the bank’s shareholder, the Nation Social Security Authority, has made the undertaking to pay the depositors.
Chikura said they had made submissions for the budget in which they are calling on government to resolve the issue of compensating depositors who lost their money with the phasing out of the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009. He said the unresolved issue of the Zimdollar has “eroded the confidence of depositors”
He also said that they had recommended that the Reserve Bank retains its function as lender of last resort to facilitate a normal banking sector.