Gono back to full throttle, harrasing banks

HARARE – THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is stepping up the monitoring of financial institutions’ compliance of minimum equity capital requirements set in August last year.

According to the minimum requirements set then, commercial banks must have a minimum capital requirement of US$12,5 million, merchant banks and building societies US$10 million each.

Finance and discount houses are required to meet a minimum capital requirement of US$7,5 million each and asset management companies US$2,5 million.

In a statement, the beleaguered RBZ Governor Gideon Gono, said yesterday, the enforcement of the revised capital requirements would be in phases in accordance with standard banking practices.

Accordingly, every bank, he said, is required to comply with at least half of the prescribed minimum requirement for its class, by September this year, and full compliance by March 31 next year.

Commercial Banks therefore would need to have a minimum requirement of US$6,25 million by September and the US$12,5 million by March 31 next year.

Merchant banks and building societies would be required to have at least US$5 million by September and the full sum of US$10 million by March next year.

Finance and discount houses are required to have a minimum of US$3,75 million each by September and US$7,5 million each by March next year.

Asset management companies’ minimum equity requirements have been pegged at US$1,25 million for September and US$2,5 million for March 2009.

Capital components that are considered for minimum capital requirements include paid-up share capital, share premium, audited retained earnings and current year retained earnings verified by the banking institution’s external auditors.

"Every banking institution whose paid-up equity capital does not comply with the respective prescribed level is required to submit a detailed re-capitalisation plan to the RBZ by June 15, 2009 for its consideration and approval, indicating amounts to be raised and timeframes," Gono said.

He said the phased minimum equity capital implementation plan takes into account the need for the banking sector to adapt to the new macroeconomic environment to restore confidence in the banking sector.

"Banking institutions without realistic potential to maintain adequate capital levels commensurate with their risk profiles on an on-going basis should seriously consider mergers and consolidations.

"The RBZ will closely monitor the adequacy of banking institutions’ capital levels and will conduct on-site examinations in order to enforce on-going compliance with minimum capital requirements," he said.