The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has released an official statement on the Nostro account issue. If you were under a rock, a couple of leaked bank memos raised concerns about the status of Nostro accounts in the country.
You can read more about that here: Are Zim banks limiting Nostro account usage, deactivating Nostros for international use?
FBC already said the leaked memo that purported to be theirs was not actually theirs. They said it was fake news. BancABC has also dismissed the memos.
Now, the regulator has released a statement to calm the market down and prevent bank runs I presume. Here it is:
STATE OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE LIQUIDITY IN THE ECONOMY
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the Bank) wishes to advise and reassure the public that there is sufficient foreign exchange in the market to satisfy all needs and demands of ban. customers. The foreign exchange liquidity position of banks stands at 60% in both cash and balances held with foreign corresponding banks.
In that regard, statements allegedly made by certain banks, and shared via social media, purporting that funds held in foreign currency accounts (FCAs) (popularly referred to in Zimbabwe as Nostro account) are not foreign exchange and that the said banks were deactivating the use of international debit or credit cards such as MasterCard should be disregarded. The statement are uncalled for as they do not represent the true state of the foreign exchange liquidity position in the economy.
The Bank has noted that FBC Bank Limited and BancABC Limited, banks cited as having advised the public that they were deactivating card services, have since issued statement distancing themselves from the statements circulating on social media.
John P Mangudya
9 June 2023
There you go, my friends. You should be reassured now, what more could you ask for when banks’ liquidity position stands at 60%? Some of it in cash and some of it held by other banks outside the country (correspondence banks).
That should clear things up. Except there remains a niggling question in my mind – both banks rubbished the memos and the RBZ confirms that banks’ liquidity positions are solid, so, who took the time to create the elaborate lie?
You have to admit that both memos looked legit, using bank language and going into specific details incorporating the two banks’ unique products. Whoever falsified them took their time.
Why though? Okay, some people just love to watch the world burn and do not need a reason to sow chaos into the economy.
Why yesterday though? If one wanted to create maximum panic, I think yesterday was as good a day as you’re going to get. There is already panic and anxiety in the economy with the ZW$ on a free fall in the last few weeks.
President Mnangagwa recently awarded judges $400,000 housing loans and people were already wondering where that money was coming from. That only added to the civil servant USD salary issue that has been bubbling under for years.
So, with all that in the pot, who would not believe that Nostro accounts were a scam? After all, there were concerns about those Nostro accounts for years, before the fake memos from yesterday.
That’s how I see it. It’s either some mischievous person (or enemy of the state) decided to cause panic or there was a little more to the memos than we are being led to believe. If it’s the latter, we shall find out sooner rather than later.