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HomeNewsEXPOSED: Cooperative Bank In Suspicious Acquisition Of Troubled Jamii Bora Bank

EXPOSED: Cooperative Bank In Suspicious Acquisition Of Troubled Jamii Bora Bank

As a deal to buy into non-performing Jamii Bora Bank gains pace, analysts are worried about due diligence done by Cooperative Bank which has in the past been hit by cases of fraud perpetrated by bank employees who work in cahoots with external persons to obtain money from the bank.

The Gideon Muriuki led Bank is on the spot as having weaknesses in its IT systems, which was attributed to sources within the bank.

Co-operative Bank has reported erratic systems of poor quality and that explains for instance the constant system hitches.

“The former bank chairman’s sons are said to have supplied IT systems to the bank. The same family have also been rumoured to be supplying and tendering with the bank,” says a former employee, sacked in 2017.

The downtime attributed to a technical fault left the bank’s ATM Services, Card transactions at Merchants and other Point of Sale outlets dysfunctional rendering transactions by its customers impossible.

The bank, which recently announced having moved almost 90 percent of its customer transactions to alternative delivery channels including mobile and ATMs, has 580 ATMs and over 11,000 Co-op kwa Jirani agents across the country and the number is set to increase with the opening of new ATM machines and branches in Northern and Eastern Kenya.

Malfunctioning systems have been reported on December 22, 2017 and the worst would be on July 22, 2014 when the systems failed leaving numerous customers stranded with all manner of complaints.

There are those who found huge sums of money missing from their bank accounts, others could not access their funds, those whose payroll is processed by the bank had to wait for over 4 days to access their salaries.

This also applied to those who had deposited cheques, which took more than four days to clear.

On the Jamii Bora Bank purchase, which is as good as done, financial analysts are wondering why a behemoth like Coop Bank with a big financial muscle can go for a bank that just survives by ‘the Grace of God’.

Jamii Bora Bank has in the entire period of its existence remained stagnated, refusing to innovate and introduce any change in the banking industry.

The transaction will require regulatory approval from the CBK, Capital Markets Authority and the Competition Authority of Kenya.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Co-op commenced operations in 1965 and had the fourth highest market share (9.63 percent) in the banking industry at the end of last year.

In contrast, Jamii Bora, started in 2010 after the acquisition by City Finance Bank, and had a market share of 0.12 percent, putting it at position 38 out of 39 banks.

The deal will lead to changes in market share as well as expansion of Cooperative bank branches.

Jamii Bora’s last published financials are for the first quarter of 2018 when it had assets worth Sh12.5 billion.

Its liquidity ratio was in negative 11.1 percent compared with CBK’s minimum of 20 percent as at end of March 2018, leaving it in liquidity deficiency of 31.1 percent.

In the past, Coop Bank has been accused of pummeling smaller banks and stagnating their growth, a case that was recorded in the acquisition of Spire Bank from Industrialist Naurdshad Merali in 2017.

The bank, bought by Mwalimu Sacco threatened the real existence of Coop Bank as the third biggest in the country and an immediate threat that most teachers in the country could have opened accounts there was going to be a real effect on the customer base.

The country has more than 200,000 teachers and an immediate switch is music to the bank manager’s ear.

Many economists says there is no logical explanation behind these constant system challenges that when resolved leave many customers in tears?

What is the CEO who is also the MD doing other than fighting over land, laundering money and getting embroiled in love scandals only to emerge the highest paid when customers get wanting services?

The insider intimated that the bank’s internal investigations have established a link between employees who know about malfunction in some of the bank’s IT systems and account holders who take advantage of the system.

Jamii Bora Bank

While some of the cases have ended up in the court and others remain under police investigation, the bank, keen to protect its image, has hardly reported the full extent of the problem to authorities and has on occasions refrained from pressing charges against account-holders implicated in the fraud.

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