New investors in the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) have nominated a new six-member board expected to spearhead the revival of the financial institution that nearly went under as it struggled to recapitalise.
Investigations by this paper reveal that the new shareholder, Trebo and Khays Limited, owned by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Dr Obert Mpofu, has since forwarded names of the new members to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for consideration.
Names forwarded to the central bank include legal expert Mr Farai Mutamangira, Mr Mark Wood, Mrs Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, Mr Abudullah Ismail Kassim, Mr Togarmah
Dhlakama and Mr Graeme McIntosh.
The new board ultimately replaces the five-member board that was chaired by Mr Alex Jongwe and included Mr Lawrence Gudza, Mr Jim Sanders, Mr Jonathan Kadzura and Mr Kasirai Kujinga.
Sources close to the development said Mr Mutamangira is tipped to chair the board, which is expected to be announced soon.
Trebo and Khays Limited took over after the bank tottered on the brink of collapse as its balance sheet deteriorated markedly.
By December 2011, the bank was one of the four ailing financial institutions that had failed to raise the minimum capital requirement of $12,5 million for commercial banks as stipulated by the RBZ.
In particular, its declared core capital at the time was minus $15,3 million, which implied that incoming investors had to pour in over $15 million to put in on a sound footing.
However, after completion of the takeover transaction, Trebo and Khays now owns more than 99,9 percent of the commercial bank.
But the central bank has given ZABG a two-year special dispensation to regularise its shareholding structure.
This paper understands that Trebo and Khays is already in discussions with various investors who are seeking to partner it.
It has also been learnt that the bank, which is now out of the woods, is set to embark on a massive marketing campaign to regain its position in the financial sector following the $22 million capital injection by the new investors.
Already, the financial institution has been splashing adverts in various local newspapers as it begins its charm offensive.
Some of the notable adverts suggest that the bank has clinched a deal with a leading short-term insurance company offering bancassurance products.
Bancassurance refers to the sale of insurance products through a bank.
The deal with NicozDiamond insurance company, itself arguably the largest short-term insurance company in the country, is an endorsement of the capacity that the bank has after the recapitalisation deal.
An official at the bank, who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the Press, indicated that following the recent development, the bank has embarked on an aggressive business development initiative targeting all productive sectors of the economy.
The official said that the bank is now offering innovative deposit and lending products tailor made to the unique requirements of the banking public.
“We can reveal that the bank is set to vie for a leading position in the banking sector.
“After surviving the liquidity crunch that hit the banking sector towards the end of 2011 and early 2012, the recently concluded recapitalisation through Trebo and Khays (Private) Limited has strengthened our balance sheet position and business underwriting capacity.
“This has seen us flighting personal loan adverts in the print media, signalling our intention to make an impact in the sector.
“We are offering low interest rates, fast and record turnaround times and affordable repayment terms,” said the official.
The source added that the bank’s Bulawayo units are set to get a facelift, while construction of a branch to be opened in Victoria Fall is presently under way.
It is also believed that the new investors intend to make ZABG a leading financial services brand in Zimbabwe and beyond, especially by widening its footprint in strategic centres.
Latest models of automated teller machines (ATMs) will be installed to augment the existing array of technology-driven systems.
ZABG, it has also been gathered, has taken an interest in the mining, agriculture and other major productive sectors of the economy.
The bank carried a successful unbundling and smooth relocation exercise towards the end of 2010 and has managed to maintain a network in excess of 22 branches countrywide.
Initially, the market thought the unbundling of the bank signalled the beginning of the end of the financial institution.
There has also been speculation that ZABG plans to widen its delivery channels focusing on electronic platforms for the convenience of its customers.
ZABG was formed in 2005 at the behest of the central bank as an amalgam of banks that had affected the clean-up exercise that swept across the financial services sector since 2001.
The affected institutions included Barbican, Royal Bank and Trust Bank.
These banks have, however, since been relicensed.