A last week report by Fin24 stated that banks such as Stanbic,Nedbank and Standard Chartered have been giving customers various reasons as to why they are not able to withdraw US dollars from FCAs. One quoted disgruntled customer who was denied withdrawing his/her US dollars said:
The branch manager said I could not get cash because my account was funded through an FCA transfer from another bank. They are prioritising those accounts which have cash deposits, and now I am stuck because I cannot access my funds and at the same time I cannot convert into local currency at the official rate, which is much lower.
The report was preceded with post on Twitter by former Education Minister, David Coltart which said:
Fears are being raised in the business community that USD Nostro Accounts are being raided yet again. Early warning signs 2007/08 and again 2016/17 that Nostro accounts were being raided was a delay in payments going through. I’m told the same is being widely experienced again.
Consequently, fears has been raised among depositors who are now thinking that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has started to raid FCAs, something which the central bank recently denied when the same concerns were raised.
Many people still bear fresh wounds of the loses they took when their US Dollars were arbitrarily converted to RTGS less than two years ago hence their anxiety when they fail to make US dollars withdrawals.
We contacted RBZ’s team on Thursday (last week) concerning the failure of customers to do forex withdrawals and they said they will get back to us – we will update the article as soon as we get it’s response.
How customers can use US dollars in Nostro FCAs
The challenge has left customers only being able to do internal transfers or make local forex online payments with US dollars stuck in their Nostro FCAs.
Conversion to Zimbabwe dollars is not an option because the US dollars will be converted at the extortion official rate of USD$1/ZWL$25 instead of the prevailing exchange rate of USD$1/ZWL$80.