RBZ ropes in private banks in parallel rate fight

by | Oct 14, 2021 | Business | 0 comments

Yvonne Tinotenda Mutambwa

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Financial Intelligence Unit has given private banks tasks to monitor client activity, as it has emerged that controls at banks are lax towards foreign currency deals on the black market.

Government`s determination to exterminate the foreign exchange market has seen it invite all hands on deck, including citizens.

Banks have been asked to monitor debit card activity, through their systems, blocking all accounts they suspect to be part of the money changing syndicate.
In a letter, FIU Director General FIU Director-General Oliver Chiperesa informed banks of a strategy in which people are doing debit card transactions on behalf of other buyers, while collecting United States dollars.

“The Financial Intelligence Unit has noted the increasing abuse of debit cards linked to Zimbabwe dollar denominated bank accounts. Card-holders approach customers who intend to purchase goods or services in foreign currency and offer the use of their cards in return for foreign currency at an agreed rate,” the letter read.

Banks have been directed to implement measures such as identifying debit card and linked bank accounts that are used frequently and somehow raising suspicion of misuse.

“Banks should implement a robust automated transaction monitoring mechanism to identify debit cards and the linked bank accounts that are being used frequently and in a pattern that raises suspicion that the customer is abusing the card to pay for goods and services on behalf of third parties,” the instruction read.

Banks were urged to follow trails of suspicious bank transfers and swipe transactions.

“Having identified such transactions and accounts, the bank must carry out further analysis to establish the source of funding into the accounts as well as the purpose and legitimacy of the payments,” the letter read.

Banks were told to warn errant clients, if they fail to reform and then they close the account but in serious cases, they were instructed to immediately close the account.

They were given a checklist of what constitutes dodgy account behaviour.

“A bank account which receives regular inflows from sources or for a purpose that cannot be readily verified, followed by frequent debit card payments to retailers and service providers.
A debit card is used several times in a day in the same shop in a manner inconsistent with normal shopping patterns,” the letter read.

“A debit card that is used to purchase goods and services either in the same shop or in different shops in a regular pattern that is not consistent with normal shopping patterns,” it further stated.

Banks were given until October 18 to set up their system in accordance to the new requirements.