Banks squeal over hoax messages

BARCLAYS bank Zimbabwe and NMB Bank have become the latest financial institutions to fall prey to hoax messages circulating on social media.

NMB Zimbabwe chief executive Benefit Washaya said he did not understand the motive of people who generate and circulate “damaging messages” on WhatsApp.

“At first I thought it was a customer who got a loan that became a non-performing one and was about to lose a house and did not want to go down alone,” he said.

This was after a social media hoax message early this month advising customers to withdraw their money.
The message alleged that NMB Bank is set to fold, prompting the bank and the central bank to issue statements saying it was stable.

“To those who have NMB accounts and haven’t heard the news I advise that you move your money as soon as is humanly possible. Got a tip from a senior manager that it is to go under curatorship,” read the alleged hoax message.

Washaya, however, noted that despite the threats posed by the message, NMB “remains in a sound liquidity position”.
“I am glad to say that our customers have sided with us and we have retained most of our depositors,” he added.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe described the message as being “malicious”.

“Members of the public are advised to ignore misleading statements from unauthorised and uninformed persons,” central bank governor John Mangudya said.

“The Reserve Bank is the sole superintendent of the banking sector in Zimbabwe, and any information on the condition of banks, other than that published by the banking institution itself, should come from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” he added.
Barclays Zimbabwe also lashed out at a hoax WhatsApp message that was advising depositors to withdraw their money.
“Those with their monies at Barclays Bank go and withdraw, it is closing for good on the 22nd of March 2016. Pass it on,” said the WhatsApp message.

The hoax WhatsApp message comes about after Barclays Zimbabwe parent company, Barclays Plc, earlier this month announced its intention to exit its Zimbabwean operation as well as reduce its shareholding in Barclays Africa Group, formerly Absa.

Barclays Zimbabwe said the WhatsApp message is inaccurate and misleading regarding the claimed exit date.
“Barclays would like to re-assure valued customers and the general public at large, that the misleading WhatsApp messages currently circulating concerning our alleged closure on March 22, 2016 are grossly inaccurate and false,” Barclays said in response to the message.

“Barclays is open for business and has no intention whatsoever to close its doors. We remain committed to the growth of our company,” it added.

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