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Banks issue ultimatum to clients

Tokelo Rasephei

CLIENTS of different banks in the country have until next week on the 28th of March to submit their updated personal details to their respective banks or have their accounts frozen, the chairperson of the Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL), Mpho Vumbukani, has said.

Mr Vumbukani said this at a recent press briefing in Maseru. He said the banks needed accurate up-to-date information of clients as part of the country’s fight against terrorism and money laundering.

He said the new requirements were part of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) framework that governments use to control, monitor and combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism in the world.

“Through the KYC, we should know your personal identity, your physical address and all your sources of income,” Mr Vumbukani said.

He said the banks have been sending out messages to customers requesting them to update their banking details since 2015 but the call had not been heeded by many clients hence the 28 March 2018 deadline.

“As the Bankers Association of Lesotho, we have made a decision to yet again remind our customers to update their account details by the 28th of March 2018,” Mr Vumbukani said.

“This is a directive from the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) and it is therefore in the best interest of the interest of all our clients to comply with this directive as accounts will indeed be blocked.

“We have been making this call since 2015, and we are now at a point where, if records have not been updated by the 28 March, we will be left with no option but to freeze those accounts where the details will not have been updated by that date.

“This matter has put us in a very precarious situation because we are caught in the middle between fulfilling the requirements of our regulatory framework as prescribed by the CBL as well as ensuring that we provide services to our customers.”

BAL comprises of FNB Lesotho, Lesotho Post Bank, Nedbank Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank.

Mr Vumbukani also revealed that during the second quarter of 2018, BAL members will introduce a new savings account to cater for people who earn less than M3 000 per month.

He said the account will not carry management fees.

“As banks we feel that it is now time to embrace financial inclusion in order to make financial services accessible at affordable costs to individuals earning M 3 000 or less,” Mr Vumbukani said.


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