RBZ, banks lower charges


HARARE – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with financial institutions, which sets out guidelines on bank charges and interest rates.

The agreement is with effect from February 1 and shall endure for a period of one year, renewable by mutual consent unless terminated by parties and is not applicable in retrospect.

This comes on the back of Finance minister Tendai Biti imposing measures to cap bank fees and lending or interest rates in his 2013 National Budget last November.

According to the MoU, banks are now required in respect of a 14-day call or fixed deposit account, to pay interest accruing to an account on agreed contractual terms provided that such interest may be reduced.

“Any term deposit by individual customers of $1 000 and above held over a period of at least 30 days shall attract an interest rate of at least 4 percent per annum provided that such a deposit has been placed in a term deposit account in accordance with the terms and conditions…..” said part of the Mou.

The agreement also stipulates that lending rates will now be subject to a maximum rate of not more than 12,5 percent above all banks’ weighted average cost of funds dependent upon agreed calculated  methods.

Those customers who fail to service a loan or other advance made within agreed parameters may face a penalty interest rate not exceeding 10 percent per annum above the contractual lending rate, excluding associated collection costs including, but not limited to, legal costs at the legal practitioner – client scale.

Individual customers with monthly deposits of less than $800 will be charged up to 0,5 percent of cash withdrawal amount subject to minimum charge of $2,50 while on March 1, banks are obliged to issue out the first mandatory debit cards for free to all account  holders.

A charge of $3,50 may accrue after the first one lapses.

Charges that fall under the auspices of ledger fees, maintenance or services fees will be capped at $4 per account whilst ATM withdrawal fees will be $2 per transaction.

Point of sale charges will be between 10 cents and 50 cents per transaction while requesting a statement will be free of charge in the first instance.

Subsequent requests during the same month will attract current charges.

Cash deposits will now be free of charge and all banks are expected to oblige with the Mou requirements. – Kudzai Chawafambira

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