Hundreds of Imperial Bank customers across the country were Tuesday left stranded after Central Bank of Kenya put the bank under receivership due to what it termed as “unsafe or unsound business conditions”.
The privately owned bank had closed all its branches countrywide following the Central Bank ‘s action, leaving customers particularly depositors and creditors in confusions and shock.
In Mombasa, customers who turned up at the Bank premises early morning hoping to transact businesses were met with a notice at the gate asking them to remain patience as the “bank was experiencing a technical hitch and customers would be advised the shortest time possible”
The bank notice was later replaced with a closure notice from the central bank of Kenya attached with a gazette notice assuring creditors and depositors of safety of their money.
The same scenario was witnessed in the bank branches in Kilifi, Malindi and other counties across the Coast region.
Phyllis Omido, one of the bank customers in Kilifi had won the prestigious Goldman environmental Africa award worth kshs.15 million this year and deposited part of it at the bank . She said the closure of the bank has crippled services at her organization.
Her center for justice governance and environmental action CJGEA also has three accounts with the bank.
“I was shocked when I came to transact some business at the bank and found the notices here. When I won the award I donated half of it to my organization which has an account with the bank and I also have a personal account and my sons account too. Donors also channel funds through this bank,” added Omido.
She said the organization cannot run without money and urged CBK to quickly make arrangements for customers to access their money at the bank.
“I do not know how I will pay the bills and even salaries. The bank did not inform us of the pending closure and yesterday I was at the bank but I was told nothing. We use the cash to support the community but we are now in a fix” said Omido.
Another customer Iha Thoya also expressed shock over the closure.
“I was surprised and my business will be crippled because we have deposits here and the money we use to run the business is with this bank but we cannot access it now. We pay our partners through this bank and I do not know how the business will be,” said Mr. Iha.
The bank was put under receivership on Tuesday and customers advised to access their funds through the Kenya deposit insurance corporation KDIC.