Banks in­ter­est rates ‘scan­dal’ Fleeced com­pa­nies re­cover $200k

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

THE In­ter­est Re­search Bureau (IRB) has re­cov­ered about $200 000 in over­charged in­ter­ests rates on loans bor­rowed from banks by 10 dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies.

The Di­rec­tors’ Pro­tec­tion Coun­cil of Zim­babwe (DPCZ) had com­plained over the cal­cu­la­tion of in­ter­est rates by some banks, which they felt prej­u­diced their mem­bers.

DPCZ chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Reg­gies Sibanda said the re­cov­ery of the $200 000 fol­lowed re­cent en­gage­ments with the IRB in Bu­l­awayo on July 29 this year.

IRB is an in­de­pen­dent and pri­vately owned firm that has come up with a pro­gramme to as­sist com­pa­nies to re-com­pute bor­rowed loans from day one up to the end of the loan’s ten­ure be­fore com­ing up with a re­port, which is pre­sented to the bank.

“Fol­low­ing the break­fast meet­ing that we hosted in July, some of our mem­bers have ap­proached the In­ter­est Re­search Bureau for a re­cal­cu­la­tion of in­ter­est on loans.

“It has since been es­tab­lished that the com­pa­nies have col­lec­tively been over­charged on in­ter­est rates on loans about $200 000,” said Mr Sibanda.

Since the adop­tion of a mul­ti­c­ur­rency sys­tem in Fe­bru­ary 2009, a num­ber of com­pa­nies have been faced with lit­i­ga­tions for fail­ing to their loans.

This has seen de­fault­ing busi­nesses los­ing valu­able as­sets while oth­ers have been placed un­der ju­di­cial man­age­ment.

IRB man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mr con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment.

“Af­ter our meet­ing in Bu­l­awayo in July, we had an in­flux of ac­counts from Bu­l­awayo. We have so far re­cov­ered about $200 000 as a re­sult of over­charg­ing on in­ter­est rates on loans.

“The un­for­tu­nate thing is that most of Jani Jani these ac­counts have judge­ments and if that hap­pens the mat­ter be­comes com­plex for us to han­dle,” he said.

“We are urg­ing busi­nesses that if you have a dis­pute with cred­i­tors over Non­Per­form­ing Loans (NPLs), it is bet­ter to de­fend the mat­ter so that a judg­ment is not is­sued by the courts.”

Mr Sibanda could not re­veal the names of af­fected com­pa­nies and im­pli­cated banks but said af­ter the re­cal­cu­la­tion of in­ter­est rates on bor­rowed loans, their coun­cil has ap­proached the Bankers As­so­ci­a­tion of Zim­babwe, which has not dis­puted the bor­row­ers con­cerns.

“We’ve en­gaged BAZ over the mat­ter and in most cases banks have not con­tested the fig­ures the Re­search In­ter­est Bureau has pre­sented but they have tried to find scape­goats.

“We are say­ing there is need to relook at this is­sue as a se­ri­ous mat­ter and with a sense of ur­gency,” he said.

Mr Sibanda urg­ing other busi­nesses to make sure that in­ter­est rates on their Non­Per­form­ing Loans (NPLs) are ver­i­fied by the In­ter­est Re­search Bureau.

IRB has at­trib­uted the over­charge on in­ter­est rates to a num­ber of rea­sons among them hu­man er­ror, soft­ware fac­tors, and some­times de­lib­er­ate as the sys­tem at times would have gone hay­wire.

Mr Sibanda said his or­gan­i­sa­tion has also en­gaged the Zim­babwe As­set Man­age­ment Com­pany (ZAMCO) on buy­ing out Non­Per­form­ing Loans from the Di­rec­tors Pro­tec­tion Coun­cil’s mem­bers.

He said their coun­cil would con­tinue en­gag­ing banks, the Sher­iff ’s of­fice and Es­tate Agents Coun­cil of Zim­babwe over the auc­tion­ing of busi­ness as­sets.

“Our econ­omy is bleed­ing; we all know that and we should take cog­ni­sance of that,” he said.

Com­mend could not be ob­tained from the Bankers As­so­ci­a­tion of Zim­babwe.

Mr Reg­gies Sibanda

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