By Ernest Mwape
Account holders at the Zambia National Commercial (ZANACO) bank in Mpika over the weekend failed to access their salaries using ZANACO visa electronic cards because the automated teller machine (ATM) at Mpika branch ATM 2 had run out off cash.
Account holders mainly TAZARA workers who had wanted to withdraw their February salaries at ATM 65 – 02 late on Saturday afternoon could not get their monies because the machine had no money in it.
When customers punched their password to make withdraws, they were getting ATM print outs with a message “the transaction could not be completed.”
Some customers talked to, complained of being inconvenienced by the bank saying some of them wanted to travel to various schools to take money to their children whom they said were attending lessons on promissory notes, while others planned to do some business during the long holiday, but their plans were disturbed.
The customers who declined their identity blamed ZANACO for failing to load sufficient cash on the machine when they knew they were going into a long weekend.
Customers from various places were forced to book taxi cabs to Boma ZANACO agency which had cash on the ATM. The agency which is along the Great North Road is about nine kilometres apart.
And management has remained mute over the matter.
PROFIT FOR OWNERS
But at the headquarters in Lusaka, Zanaco said Wednesday it expects business to continue to grow after posting a rise in 2009 profit as economic conditions started to improve.
Zanaco, part-owned and managed by Netherlands’ Rabobank RABO.UL, said on Wednesday profit before tax rose 46 percent to 126 billion Zambian kwacha ($27.3 million) in 2009 from 86 billion kwacha in 2008.
“We expect a gradual improvement in the performance of the Zambian economy due to lower interest rates, lower inflation, high commodity prices and a firm kwacha, while remaining mindful of risk environment,” Zanaco said.
“The focus of the bank will be on further improving the customer service and sales which should contribute to higher deposit growth rates and stronger non-interest income from transaction products.”
The bank said the marginal increase in total assets, which climbed to 3 trillion kwacha from 2.9 trillion, highlighted the effects of the global economic slowdown on the banking sector in Africa’s largest copper producer.