News Column

Allied Bank Problems Worsen

February 7, 2014



ALLIED Bank workers have sought the intervention of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in a bid to end management and liquidity problems besetting the financial institution, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

A petition sent to the central bank acting governor Charity Dhliwayo highlighted the problems the bank faces and sought the placement of the institution under the care of a curator, saying the current management team was not in a position to steer the bank out of the woods.

"We, the undersigned, being the workers of Allied Bank hereby petition you as the monetary authority to intervene and place this institution under recuperative curatorship. We believe that the problems that we are facing are related to none other than poor management and poor corporate governance. The current management can never steer this organisation out of the mud because they lack the pedigree required to deliver," reads the petition.

"We are confident that with a curator being in charge, we would be assured that the interests of all stakeholders are protected rather than the current situation where management is belabouring on the notion that, because government has got shares in Allied Bank then this institution will never be put under judicial management. Surely management with such a mentality is self-centred and is only after looting the resources of this organisation rather than build it as they are under the comfort that government is a shareholder. We also strongly believe that capitalisation negotiations with potential investors will be better, effective and expeditiously handled by an independent or neutral person as compared to the current set up where personal interests are being prioritised."

Former RBZ governor Gideon Gono ordered a merger of Royal Bank, Trust Bank and Barbican in 2005 into the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG). ZABG was eventually unbundled in 2010 after years of bitter shareholder wrangles into three banks -- Trust, Royal and ZABG (now Allied Bank).

Following the unbundling of ZABG, Transport minister Obert Mpofu acquired the bank through his company, Trebo & Khays.

But workers say the coming on board of Mpofu has not helped the bank in terms of liquidity as cash challenges have worsened.

"During the festive season staff members were on the receiving end when they interfaced with angry customers who queued to receive anything from meagre withdrawals to nothing daily from the bank. The problems have continued to the extent that workers are going for over a month without being paid salaries and they do not have a clue of when if ever they are going to be paid," the petition reads.

Workers allege the current management does not have a clear strategy on how to extricate the bank from the quagmire that it finds itself in.

"This organisation cannot turn around with the same old management that failed since 2005. Surely, there is nothing that they can bring to this organisation as they have become a liability and they cannot instill any confidence to the customers, shareholders and staff," the petition says.

The workers said management continued to make poor decisions, further worsening the precarious situation of the bank.

For instance, the bank is said to have purchased obsolete and incompatible ATMs, failed to unlock value from the assets which were injected by the shareholders and opened new branches without sufficient market research.

"The bank has failed to implement the 2013 collective bargaining agreement, failed to pay bonuses and is in arrears in terms of paying workers' salaries since November 2013," part of the petition reads.

Employees say the organisation continues to be in serious default of remitting pension and Nssa dues thereby putting post-employment situation of employees at risk.


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Source: AllAfrica


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