Tainted history of Zim’s banking sector

More than half of the banks that have been registered in Zimbabwe since 1892 are either struggling to survive or have disappeared from the market through closure or mergers and acquisitions, information at hand shows.

Taurai Mangudhla

List of banking institutions in Zimbabwe: banks(1)

According to information extracted from the Zimbabwe Independent’s popular Banks and Banking Survey archives, Standard Chartered Bank was the first institution to be registered in 1892 and apparently a great success story as a number of players which came after vanished along the way, while others never opened their doors for trading.

Midland Building and Investment Society, registered in 1925 as a building society, faded from history, while the late Roger Boka’s United Merchant Bank which was registered in 1995 collapse three years later.

David Chapfika’s Universal Merchant Bank, licensed around the same time as Boka’s bank was affected by the collapse of United Merchant Bank and eventually taken over by CFX. First National Building Society was in 1996 licensed; it operated until it went under in 2003.

National Discount House, Barbican Bank and Rapid Discount House, all licensed in 1997, had gone under by 2004. Other financial institutions which have closed include Time, Trust and Genesis banks. In 1998, government licensed Prudential Discount House which was to vanish from the market. Prime Bank, a commercial bank licensed in 1999, never opened its doors to the public.

In 2005, Highveld Financial Services was licensed as a discount house, but surrendered its banking licence afterwards. CFX started as a bureau de change before taking over Universal Merchant Bank.
In 2009, Tawanda Nyambirai’s TN Bank, which took over Trust Financial Services in 2006 was licensed. TN Bank was however taken over by Econet Wireless and rebranded Steward Bank.

Some banks might still be lingering on the market but are struggling for their survival. Tetrad Investment Bank was suspended from taking deposits last year.

William Nyemba’s Trust Bank is under curatorship, while Genesis Investment Bank, licensed in 2001, also surrendered its licence.

Interfin Merchant Bank acquired CFX, but was put under liquidation late 2014.

Patterson Timba’s Renaissance Merchant Bank, licensed in 2001, was taken over by Nssa after falling into trouble and rebranded to Capital Bank before it surrendered its licence. Obert Mpofu’s Allied Bank, formerly ZABG formed out of the merger of Trust, Time and Royal banks before the entity’s unbundling, also surrendered its licence earlier this year. Royal Bank is currently under liquidation.

Nigel Chanakira’s Kingom Bank, which started off as a discount house in 1994 before growing into a merchant bank and later commercial bank, known as AfrAsia, collapsed this week.

3 Responses to Tainted history of Zim’s banking sector

  1. Alexander Gonese February 27, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Why is TN Bank’s takeover in this article about failed banks. As you are aware Steward Bank is actually one of the strongest banks around. Its not like TN Bank is the only bank which has been sold, Bancabc has just been sold, itself being a creation of takeovers and mergers.

  2. Mhofu E February 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    If TN Bank had not been taken over by Econet, it probably would have collapsed. Some of these mergers / takeovers actually saved the financial institutions which were taken over.

  3. kt February 27, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    Mhofu you are right. Most banks that either merged with others or bought were indeed saved from total collapse. intermarket which merged with zb for example.
    It is a pity that AFRASIA had to close. Will confidence in our banks be ever restored

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