The Post Online, January 07, 2011

The justification by Bank of Zambia to temporarily cede Finance Bank (FBZ) to managers from owners of First National Bank is against competitiveness and will hurt consumers, says CUTS International.

The head of the Zambian branch of Consumer Unity & Trust Society International said the government should not have given the running of Finance Bank to managers from First Rand National Bank of South Africa.

First Rand National Bank is the parent company of First National Bank (FNB), which is one of the 17 commercial banks operating in the country.

CUTS International Zambia executive chairman Ambassador Love Mtesa questioned BoZ’s decision to allow Finance Bank, earmarked for sale in three months, to be managed by officers from the bank that had operations in the country.

“We appreciate the Bank of Zambia is empowered within the law to take the decision they took over Finance Bank but as consumers and as a country, are we guaranteed that the managers from First Rand will keep their mouths shut after the three months is over?” Ambassador Mtesa wondered.

He explained that there was a likelihood that managers from First Rand National Bank would pass classified information to the competitors of Finance Bank or even prospective buyers for the bank.

Ambassador Mtesa said CUTS International, a non-governmental organisation pursuing social justice and economic equity, was worried at the manner BoZ had hired the ‘caretakers’ for Finance Bank.

“They have information such as how the Finance bank was planning to woo customers, excel, so we feel this move will not benefit us as consumers,” said Ambassador Mtesa.

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