Lifting of sanctions raises hope for Agribank customers over Visa cards

Agribank bank charges loans

Over a week ago, Agribank,along with Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, were removed from the US sanctions list. Agribank featured on the infamous list in 2008 after the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury (OFAC) found out that the bank was colluding with the then government led by the late Robert Mugabe.

The removal from the list means that Agribank can now have access to foreign funding to improve its fortunes.

What about Visa card?

Its no secret that Agribank customers have been yearning for their bank to issue Visa or MasterCard cards for their international payments.

In 2018 Agribank’s CEO Somkhosi Malaba had ambitions of introducing one of those cards but up to now nothing has materialized.

“We are also pursuing the issuance of VISA international cards in 2018. The VISA card is key for current and potential new customers who want to do international transactions.”

Accordingly, the question we received from some of our readers was if Agribank was going to introduce a Visa or MasterCard card since their bank is no longer under sanctions.

Yes, the fact that Agribank was under sanctions meant that it couldn’t have such a card since no corresponded bank was willing to work with it as they didn’t want to get penalized by OFAC.

But corresponded banks can now do business with Agribank without getting penalized, which is why some customers are hopeful that their bank will soon engage Visa or MasterCard and start issuing their cards.

What Agribank said

So we reached out to Agribank to confirm if is is working on introducing Visa or MasterCard cards to its customers anytime soon. Agribank gave us a somewhat unrevealing response which said:

Official communication will be sent once the products have been developed.

The response is vague and subject to different interpretations as it doesn’t state if it is already working on such a card or its still in the planning phase of introducing such a card.

In any case, Agribank customers will be happy if their bank start to issue Visa or MasterCard cards – its customers will be spared from having to get Visa or MasterCard cards from other banks which they don’t have an existing relationship with.

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