RBZ says in stock of adequate US$ cash, dismisses Nostro FCA deactivation reports

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By Alois Vinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has maintained that current stocks of US$ cash in the economy are sound, dispelling reports that Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) are not foreign exchange as well as fears on the impending deactivation of locally funded MasterCard.

Social media posts which circulated this week purportedly originating from BancABC and FBC Holdings indicated that past US$ balances in MasterCard backed FCAs will not be valid with holders of such accounts being required to load direct cash before use.

The reports also insinuated that all international debit cards would be deactivated prompting speculation of an impending crisis within the local banking sector.

Reacting to developments, RBZ governor John Mangudya Friday dismissed the reports, instead insisting the country has enough foreign currency liquid to serve the banking public.

“The RBZ wishes to advise and reassure the public that there is sufficient foreign exchange in the market to satisfy all needs and demands of banks’ customers. The foreign exchange liquidity position of banks stands at 60% in both cash and balances held with foreign correspondent banks.

“In that regard, statements allegedly made by certain banks, and shared via social media, purporting that funds held in FCAs / Nostro accounts are not foreign exchange and that the said banks were deactivating the use of international debit or credit cards such as MasterCard should be disregarded,” he said.

The central bank governor described the statements as “uncalled for” as they do not represent the true state of the foreign exchange liquidity position in the economy.

The clarification comes shortly after FBC Holdings distanced itself from the social media postings.

“Our attention has been drawn to social media messages purporting that FBC Bank intends to deactivate MasterCard services and other US$ based transactions.

“As a matter of fact, the reliable FBC MasterCard remains operational for executing local and international transactions, online as well as on all Mastercard branded terminals across the globe.

“This is in line with the bank’s unwavering commitment towards ensuring the provision of a secure, convenient and reliable platform for anyone in Zimbabwe and abroad to transact using the FBC MasterCard card,” said FBC in a statement.

Although had not seen the BancABC statement at the time of publishing, RBZ confirmed the latter had since issued one.