Kenya’s Central Bank (CBK) has appointed NIC Bank to take over collapsed Imperial Bank’s assets and liabilities in a deal that will see depositors of the troubled mid-tier lender access up to Ksh1.5 million ($14,818) of their savings.
The appointment is meant to safeguard the interests of the depositors and creditors of Imperial Bank that was placed under receivership last year after its shareholders failed to inject Ksh10 billion ($98.79 million) in new capital that is required to reopen the bank.
Under the new agreement made public on Tuesday, NIC will also take over all the 28 branches and 470 employees of Imperial Bank of which 70 of them are on contractual terms.
“In my view the shareholders of Imperial Bank have been unwilling to put together a package that will reopen the bank. The shareholders have made it clear to me that they no longer have the Ksh10 billion ($98.79 million) required to reopen the bank,” the Central Bank of Kenya governor Patrick Njoroge told journalists in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Imperial Bank was placed under receivership on October 13, 2015 for 12 months, collapsing with a total of Ksh87 billion ($859.48 million) of depositors money, largely due to irregularities and malpractices which exposed depositors, creditors and the banking sector to financial risk.
Of the Ksh87 billion ($859.48 million), Ksh7 billion ($69.15 million) has already been cleared while claims amounting to Ksh11 billion ($108.67 million) have not been verified.
NIC appointed by the receiver manager, CBK’s Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), will assess the quality of Imperial’s assets and liabilities, support the recovery of the loans and provide guidance on other assets and on staffing.
A similar arrangement was implemented through KCB and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) that saw depositors of Chase Bank which is also under receivership access up to Ksh1 million ($9,879) of their savings.
Dr Njoroge said NIC Bank will have two weeks to pay off verified claims as soon as a High Court’s suspension of payments to Imperial Bank’s depositors is lifted on July 4, 2016.
The High Court had suspended payments to small depositors of Imperial Bank in April 2016 following an application by a Mombasa-based billionaire businessman Ashok Doshi and his wife Amit.
The two had sought an injunction restraining CBK and Imperial Bank from continuing with any dealings with their money in any manner, either by investing or transferring to other banks.
Dr Njoroge said the deal with NIC Bank will see customers with over Ksh2.5 million ($24,319) in deposits recover 59 per cent of their total deposits.
The Central Bank acknowledged that the regulator has been unable to recover any new assets stashed both locally and abroad, making its bid to pay off depositors difficult.
“We do not have resources that can pay out. We haven’t recovered any new assets. We have local assets and other assets that are in other jurisdictions,” said Dr Njoroge.