Time Bank reopens with new business model Time Bank says it will focus more on investment banking activities and has already started offering mortgage loans

Business Reporter

Time Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd reopened its doors last month, after an 18-year hiatus, following a pre-opening inspection and authorisation by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

The bank will,  however, operate a new business model whereby the bank will start by lending out to various categories of clients without taking deposits and review the model at an appropriate time.

In the statement, Time Bank said it would now focus more on investment banking activities and has already started offering mortgage loans.

“The bank is now offering mortgage loans with effect from 27 October 2022” and other loans, with effect from December 1, 2022,” it said.

These include exporters’ loans including first-time exporters, corporate loans, factoring of book debts, discounting of medium-term bills and promissory notes, discounting of exporters’ receivables and consumer loans. 

Time Bank added that it will with effect from December 1, 2022 offer services such as portfolio management services, advisory services, financial agency services and consultancy services.

RBZ allowed for the reopening of Time Bank following a pre-opening inspection.

The bank closed operations in 2004 and was among the other few commercial banks that ceased operations between 2004 and 2008 due to various reasons.

Time Bank on its part was closed and had its banking licence cancelled in 2006, but disputed the reasons for its closure and cancellation of its licence.

The bank in a notice this week said it resumed operations on October 27, 2022, after getting the green light from the central bank but with restrictions not to take in deposits.

A pre-opening inspection is a rigorous exercise done by the regulator of ensuring that everything is in order before it is allowed to operate. It involves verifying the bank’s capital requirements and evaluating its executive and non-executive directors to ensure that they are fit to manage the financial institution.

Founded by Mr Chris Takura Tande, Time Bank began operations in 1997 becoming the first locally-owned indigenous commercial bank. 

Other locally owned merchant banks and discount houses were to follow years later into commercial banking.

After protracted legal battles, it emerged the bank was owed US$5 million by RBZ before its closure which created financial problems for the bank.

As Time Bank demanded a refund of the money, RBZ responded by putting the bank under a disputed curator in 2004 and cancelled the licence two years later.

After cancellation of its licence, the RBZ tried to put Time Bank into ZABG, but Time Bank objected strongly, and given the intensity of legal fights, the RBZ left Time Bank out of ZABG.

The courts reinstated the licence of Time Bank in 2009 but the bank could not operate, as RBZ could not do a handover of the assets, documents and affairs of Time Bank in the normal way at the end of curatorship, from the former curator to the bank’s directors.

In 2015, the RBZ and Time Bank entered into a settlement agreement, under which the RBZ agreed to refund Time Bank US$5 million, and also agreed on the issue of the outstanding handover/takeover as well as the re-opening of Time Bank, subject to pre-opening inspection. 

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