The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is reportedly locked in negotiations with Time Bank Zimbabwe Limited over monies owed by to the latter and whose return may shape the local financial institution’s rebound to banking business
This also comes amid indications that Transnational Holdings Limited is set to reclaim a 26 percent stake in ZB Financial Holdings Limited as part of compensation for Nicholas Vingirai’s loss of the Intermarket Group and erroneous media reports that Chris Tande’s bank had been closed due to mismanagement of funds.
“You will recall that central bank governor John Mangudya announced in Parliament early last year that they were in discussions with Time Bank over the reduction of its $15 million debt to the indigenous financial institution and that they were targeting a figure of $5 million, but it is not clear what came out of those talks,” said a source, adding a progression of those negotiations was key in the bank’s reopening.
Time Bank was one of those institutions caught up in the RBZ tsunami to place quite a number of banks under curatorship for alleged corporate governance infractions between 2004 and 2006, but the pioneering local institution strongly disputed the allegations leading up to its closure on the basis that the main Bank had to settle its debts with the fledgling institution first.
As such, the Tande-led bank got its licence restored after the Administrative Court ruled in 2009 that its closure was illegal and, thereafter, there were back-and-forth discussions which culminated in the partial release of its assets by the regulator – although without its $4 million computer system a few years ago.
While the bank’s owners have always maintained that Time Bank’s placement under curatorship was unfair in that the then central bank leadership did not want to settle its debt to the institution, Mangudya has taken a conciliatory tone or path with many bankers.
“You will also know that the principal amount taken by the RBZ then was more than $15 million and if the right to be heard had been applied, and the debt settled before its licence was cancelled that bank would still be operating,” they said.
“But despite those odds and unfair treatment, Time Bank — under the direction of its shareholders and directors — managed to fully repay its depositors, including interest, which was somewhat historic because it managed to compensate its depositors without any new money from depositors or payment from RBZ.” the source said.
And as a result of these irrefutable facts or evidence, the Herald newspaper has had to retract its May 18 story that Tande’s Time Bank had been closed due to an alleged abuse of depositor’s funds.
“…Time Bank was not among financial institutions that failed, prejudicing investors and depositors… as a result of liquidity issues related to improper conduct of its owners or managers,” it said