Reprieve as NIC reopens Imperial Bank

What you need to know:

  • Eager customers of the collapsed bank lined up as early as 8am in most of NIC and Imperial Bank branches to file their claims.
  • The process will see 5,000 of the lender’s customers who had made prior claims immediately access an additional Sh1.5 million of their deposits.

Some Imperial Bank branches on Tuesday reopened their doors for the first time since the lender was put under receivership in October last year, offering a glimmer of hope for depositors most of whom stand to get back their full deposits.

Big account holders could receive up to 40 per cent compensation for their cash.

Eager customers of the collapsed bank lined up as early as 8am in many NIC and Imperial Bank branches to file their claims in a process that will see 5,000 of the lender’s customers who had made prior claims immediately access an additional Sh1.5 million of their deposits.

This second round of payments will see depositors get refunds of up to Sh2.5 million each when added to the previous payout of Sh1 million.

“From previous claims that were lodged at DTB and KCB, there are about 5,000 claimants whose accounts we had pre-opened… If you had claimed and we are able to verify it is you and everything is fine, money will be in your account within three days, if you had not claimed, it will take about 10 days once the claim is made,” said NIC Bank managing director John Gachora.

Mr Gachora said the Imperial Bank’s branches will stay open with the lender targeting to process claims totalling Sh9 billion under the refund programme.

About 44,300 customers of the collapsed bank’s smaller depositors with Sh1 million or less, who made up 89 per cent of the depositors, have since accessed their full amount.

“It’s a moment of happiness for all depositors now that we are receiving the second pay. Having our funds tied up has caused us all manner of problems,” said Amman Sobha, a customer.

However, others expressed displeasure at what they said is the slow pace of the refunds. “I have more than Sh20 million tied up in the bank and so Sh1.5 million is a drop in the ocean for my business needs,” said a businessman who declined to disclose his name.

NIC Bank was appointed by the Central Bank of Kenya, (CBK) and Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) to steer the refunds.

“One of the ways we are offering support for their customers is giving them an account so that the money that lands in their account today is not subject to any fees for a year, cheque books are free and RTGSs are free for a year,” said Mr Gachora.

NIC expects to take over the assets of the bank after completion of a due diligence, Mr Gachora said.

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