NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – Perminus Ombava a Nairobi based advocate is a worried man. The lawyer woke up to news that the Central Bank of Kenya had placed Chase Bank under receivership for 12 months.
Ombava is not alone. Dozens of the bank’s customers have been standing outside designated branches around the city reading and re-reading the Central Bank’s statement glued on the bank’s doors.
“I’m worried about my money as I have been unable to withdraw it. I use the bank to conduct my business, what will I tell my clients? How long do I have to wait until the bank refunds my deposits?”
Early Thursday morning the Central Bank of Kenya issued a statement informing the public of its decision. According to the regulator, Chase Bank has gone under owing to unsound transactions.
“This decision is meant to protect depositors, creditors and the general public,” said the CBK statement.
According to CBK, Chase Bank was not able to meet its financial obligations on April 6, 2016.
“One of CBK’s primary role as a regulator is to foster the liquidity, solvency and proper functioning of a stable market-based financial system. Chase Bank Limited experienced liquidity difficulties, following inaccurate social media reports and the stepping aside of two of its directors,” read the statement.
Jacob Kioko is on the same sinking boat as is Ombava. Kioko explained that the bank is his main bank, which he uses to receive his monthly salary and proceeds from his side hustle. He also uses it to save what he is able to set aside.
“I’m stranded at the moment. I do not have a single coin and I do not want to start taking loans from others. I have a young family that is dependent on me, what do I tell them?” he asked.
Some placed blame on the regulator saying it failed to protect their money, having assured them just Wednesday that there was no problem.
Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge had assured the public that there was nothing to worry about following reports that the bank was going under.
“Central Bank is supposed to know when there is a problem with the bank beforehand. I wish they would alert us on the same in good time. I, therefore, blame the regulator for having failed to protect my money,” Chase Bank customer Ali Fazul said.
Others expressed their diminishing faith in the country’s banking system following last year’s similar decisions by the regulator to place Imperial Bank and Dubai Bank under receivership.
On Wednesday, Chase Bank appointed Muthoni Kuria as the new board chairperson following resignations of long-serving Chairman Zafrullah Khan and Group Managing Director Duncan Kabui.