CBZ (Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe) stumbles – badly

26 01 2012

Last Friday I was in the bank and got the cash I needed without a problem. I saw the ART Farm accountant there and he was muttering about not being able to do transfers. Over the weekend it emerged that they had a liquidity problem so it was with a bit of concern on Monday that I went to draw wages. They grudgingly gave me the $4000 or so that I needed but most people were only getting $1000 and they only had smaller denomination notes; $20 and less. There was clearly a serious problem here.

In Friday’s Independent newspaper CBZ was reported as loaning $713 million last year, more than double the next bank, BancABC. I have also heard anecdotally of a farmer who got a $1m loan from CBZ – clearly impossible to pay back in Zimbabwe’s economic climate. Then yesterday Shelton told me that he’d seen in the press that the liquidity problem WAS due to too many loans being given out. Just who was in charge of that aspect? Is this a case of “loans for mates” of Gideon Gono who has significant influence there? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Credit crunch

25 09 2011

Friday was pay day at work. On my desk with the usual breakdown of days attended by staff, overtime worked and deductions for loans (interest free!) taken was another for loans for two members of the work force requesting $200 each to be paid back over 3 months. I have stipulated that all loans WILL be paid back over a maximum of 3 months (nobody has ever taken less than 3 months). Not that remarkable but I still asked the foreman if those requesting the loans understood that they would be paying approximately half of their gross wage back each month. Apparently they did. Quite how they will live on the balance is beyond me but there is only so far I will go in taking responsibility for managing my labour force’s money. I just remarked to myself how thankful I was that credit cards are not easily available in Zimbabwe.