NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – The one page notice stamped on Chase Bank doors and walls informing the public of the bank’s closure, have been ripped off following the bank’s opening early Wednesday.
Customers could be seen entering the bank’s various banking halls and its ATM machines as early as nine o’clock following resumption of business barely 20 days after it was placed under a 12-month receivership by the country’s regulator.
Onyango Otieno, a Nairobi businessman said he was finally going to have peaceful sleep following the bank’s reopening.
“I’ve been a Chase Bank customer for the last two years using it for personal and business purposes. I’ve been suffering since the bank closed shop seeing that every penny I own has been tied in the bank.”
Otieno was not alone. Other customers who include Peter Owando expressed their delight following the re-opening, saying not only would their financial problems be finally be put to rest, but that they had also affirmed their faith in the country’s banking system.
Trouble hit the medium sized lender after it misreported its loans and suffered a deposit run which ultimately left the regulator with no choice but to dissolve the bank.
But Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) – the country’s biggest bank by assets- came to Chase Bank’s rescue after it was appointed by The Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) and acquired the bank beating five other interested investors and became its majority stakeholder going forward.
Hence the bank has made history becoming the first bank under receivership to resume operations ever in the country.
“I’m not worried about which bank account my money is in now, whether Chase’s or KCB’s. The fact is that I can finally access my money and that is what matters,” said a City Hall Chase Bank branch customer.
Would the bank’s customers going forward then consider changing banks following what happened to the bank?
Those who spoke to Capital Business said that they would not.
Owando for instance explained that the trouble that befell Chase Bank was not unique to that bank in particular. He explained that the same fate could fall on any other bank and leaving the bank would not mean that his money would finally be immune to such an occurrence.
His sentiments were similar to those of Mary Kamau. “I simply would not change my account because of what happened. The truth is that I enjoy the services at that bank. Their ability to have come up with a solution in such a short time only increases my confidence in them.”
In a statement, Paul Russo the Receiver Manager appointed by KCB said that Chase Bank remained committed to its customers and was keen on retaining its clientele.
“We recognize the fact that our customers have been regrettably inconvenienced over the last two weeks. We thank them for their support and remain deeply committed to our customer service promise. Chase Bank’s unparalleled support to the small and medium sectors will continue unabated. We are cognizant of the central role SME’s play in the country’s economic growth and we are keen on living up to our promise as the ‘relationship bank’” Russo said.
Russo added that all 57 branches across the country will remain open during the Bank’s normal operating hours while Chase Bank’s alternative – online and mobile banking – channels will also be available.
KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara commenting on the matter stated that the bank is determined to regain Chase Bank’s clients’ trust following the acquisition.
“KCB Group is firmly behind Chase Bank’s recovery. CBK and KCB will ensure that Chase Bank will have adequate liquidity for its operations,” he added.