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Weeks of anxiety end as Chase Bank reopens

BUSINESS
By Moses Michira | Apr 28th 2016 | 3 min read
By Moses Michira | April 28th 2016
BUSINESS

It was a major relief for thousands of Chase Bank customers who were reunited with their money yesterday after an anxious three-week wait.

Many clients were waiting to access various branches before the doors opened at 9am, on a day that many of them showed their love for the lender, some by bringing flowers to mark its new lease of life.

But caution was evident among several depositors who told The Standard that they have taken their lessons from the closure, and vowed to keep their money in different banks to avoid similar situations in future.

“I have so much love for this bank, but honestly I will retain my account here but I must open another account with a different bank,” a customer who identified himself as Tony Muraguri said. Already, he has opened another account with one of the bigger banks where his salary will be paid.

Alternative accounts

At the time the bank was closed three weeks ago, he still had most of his March salary in his bank account. Mr Muraguri feels he was lucky to have withdrawn enough to settle his Sh18,000 rent, only two days before.

He says that while he could have withdrawn the ‘few thousands’ held in the bank, he had actually passed by the head office branch “just to be sure the bank was actually open”.

Dawson Nyaga, a Nairobi-based businessman, was joyous that the lender that had offered him the best customer service had finally been reopened. As a show of confidence, he deposited even more money in his bank account.

“I have just come to deposit not withdraw,” he said before brushing off the possibility of a run on the bank.
“There was some panic, but I am now sure that it will be just fine,” he added.

A lady customer who identified herself as Muthami said she was clear in her mind that she must move her ‘little’ money to a different bank, after the pain of been unable to pay for her most basic needs because she couldn’t access her money.

“I have already opened a new account (elsewhere) and will withdraw all my money,” she said before pushing through the doors to her branch.
Other customers declined interviews even though it was easy to see their fear as they walked in, and relief after transacting.

Different branches announced their re-opening in different ways. At the Thika Road branch, there was a large cake displaying the new found partnership between Chase Bank and KCB, the bank appointed to manage operations.

Chase Bank had on Tuesday sent out a notification to its customers via text message informing them that all was well and that the branches would be open the following morning.

KCB confirmed that it was all-systems-go early yesterday, in an online post seeking to reassure thousands of depositors.

Central Bank of Kenya provided the extra cash needed to meet anticipated large withdrawals.
Chase Bank could not confirm how much customers had withdrawn by the end of the day, but with the support of the CBK facility, an empty-vault scenario is unlikely.

The bank was placed under receivership on April 7, and now holds the record for the fastest bounce back in Kenyan banking history. 

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