HARARE – Time Bank of Zimbabwe Limited (Time Bank) has been given a licence to resume operations by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
RBZ yesterday said the bank, which was closed in 2006 for alleged mismanagement of funds and has been engaged in discussion with the central bank, would soon open its doors to the public.
“Following discussions between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Time Bank to address the issues, a resolution has been reached, paving way for re-opening of the bank,” the central bank’s registrar of banking institutions said yesterday in a statement.
“Time Bank shall be resuming banking operations subject to prior inspections by the RBZ to ensure that Time Bank has put in place the necessary capital and banking systems and structures,” the RBZ added.
Time Bank, which was placed under curatorship in 2004 and 2006 by the RBZ but had its licence reinstated in 2009 after the Administrative Court ruled that its closure was illegal, was recently handed over its $4 million computer system — paving way for the commercial bank to open its doors.
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, RBZ governor John Mangudya has taken a conciliatory path with many bankers.
Mangudya told Parliament early 2015 that he was making inroads to break an impasse in the Time Bank saga.
Market experts say the placing of Time Bank under curatorship more than a decade was suspicious as the RBZ and the bank’s curator did not reveal the multi-million dollar debt.
“The principal amount was more than $5 million. If the right to be heard had been granted the information about such unpaid debt should have been taken into account before closure of the bank or before its licence was cancelled,” said a financial expert who preferred anonymity.
Despite not being paid its money by the central bank, Time Bank — under its directors — fully paid all its depositors, including interest.
“In the history of Zimbabwe it is the only bank that paid all its depositors without taking in new deposits and without being paid its money by RBZ. This shows that Time Bank was in sound condition and did not deserve to be closed,” sources said.
“The RBZ treated Time Bank unfairly by closing it in 2004 before the central bank paid it its money,” the sources added.