Zimbabwe's financial services sector is battling to contain a bitter fall-out between banks and Cambria.
Financial institutions in Zimbabwe - among them units of Standard Bank, Standard Chartered and Nedbank, among others - were left stranded after Paynet and Payserv withdrew services to process electronic funds and processing salary payments for employees and pensioners.
Cambria Africa said Zimbabwean banks had run up a tab for another $470000 since the beginning of May “knowing they would be charged in US dollars, yet deliberately continuing to use the system” while at the time “conspiring to replace us - by using other external” vendors. Banking sector executives said yesterday that they had made a decision and a presentation through the BAZ that the Cambria companies be paid in local currency.
Local finance institutions have been seeking measures to reduce exposure to foreign currency denominated costs. “The sector is limiting its exposure to foreign currency costs after the removal of foreign currencies such as the US dollar as transaction currencies as most of our income will now be in the Zimbabwe dollar. We made a presentation to this effect and sadly we could not come to terms of agreement, which is why we are having this issue of conflict,” said a finance manager with a commercial bank in Harare.