AtlasMara Zambia Headquarters
AtlasMara Zambia Headquarters

AtlasMara Bank has closed its entire branch network in Lusaka hours after Bailiffs pounced on its Headquarters and seized properties.

And Bank Managing Director James Koni has blamed the raid on the bak on legacy issues inherited from Finance Bank.

A check at selected outlets in Lusaka found the Bank closed and deserted except for security personnel who were manning the entrances.

At Longacres branch, a notice placed on the main entrance revealed that the Bank was closed for business.

Another check at Kamwala branch found a poster stuck outside the bank premises advising customers that the bank was closed for business and that it shall be opened at 14:00 Hours.

However, a further check at 15:00 Hours found the branch closed.

Further investigations across Lusaka City found that no AtlasMara ATM services were working this afternoon.

An SMS message to customers read, “ valued customers we are having technical challenges which have impacted our banking services. We deeply regret the inconvenience caused and will keep you updated.”

But some Bank insiders have revealed that the Bank has been forced to shut down its entire system after Bailiffs went away with essential equipment from the Control Room.

“The main server was uprooted so there is nothing working. We are just waiting for the next steps,” one of the workers who opted to remain anonymous said.

And in a circular to staff accessed by Lusaka Times, Bank Managing Director James Koni blamed the development on the legacy issues that the bank inherited from the takeover of Finance Bank.

“Dear Colleague, As you may have heard we have had a total service disruption as a result of a legacy court case we have been fighting as a bank. Unfortunetly the plaintiff has chosen to take drastic action at our head office and Kamwala Branch which has adversely impacted our servers which house our core banking system. As a result we have a total outage on all customer facing channels. These include ATM, Cards, Trust Accounts. Swift / Opics, Mobile Banking, Tenga, E-Tax / ENapsa, FISP. We have made the decision to close all Lusaka based branches until further notice. We are in the process of invoking the Disaster Recovery Site (DRC) site in Chongwe so that we can restart Core Banking and Alternate Channels. The impact on our customers has been massive and you may encounter angry customers and the media. I would like to advise the customers that we are working around the clock to restore service. Please direct any media queries to Eric Ngondo at 0977825227. Otherwise please refer any queries to your MANCO Head. I thank you for your resilience so far. Regards James.”

And some customers found at the Longacres branch complained of having been inconvenienced after failing to access cash.

One of the customers identified as Petros Mwamba of Kabanana Township said he started off checking at Kamwala outlet and bounced before heading to Longacres branch where he also bounced.

“I don’t even know what to do now. I was coming here to get my money but now I am stranded, I don’t even have transport money to get back home, I will just have to start walking now so that I get there before it’s dark,” Mr Mwamba complained.

A customer notice at AtlasMara Kamwala branch advising customers of the closure
A customer notice at AtlasMara Kamwala branch advising customers of the closure

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27 COMMENTS

  1. They took the server? But how was that allowed. Surely there are some privacy issues pertaining to third party data of customers?

    Especially the laptops and PCs may have saved data? They can take stock but not personal data. Questions questions. The loss of business over the closed period may amount to a substantial amount but not hitting the 1M the agreived party is claiming. Let’s see when they count the loss.

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    • Why worry we have money man Hakainde Hichilema to donate to all affected customers….HH yaoneka nchito…come on now show us how heavy you are….not those 25kg mugaiwa you were posing with and a US $375 Genset

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    • Ba Patriot Abroad, what stock will bailiffs seize from a bank? The institution doesn’t sell beans for somebody to seize – hit them where it hurts the most! Atlas Mara has never given me confidence as an entity – the combination of Mahtani as former owner and Bob Diamond as part of the new set up was as bad as putting two vultures to guard an injured impala.

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  2. This is going to cause a run on the bank as customers will now lose confidence and start withdrawing their money as well as closing accounts.

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  3. How can the regulatory authorities allow a bank that is unable to service debts handle publics money? How can you have confidence in a bank that can’t handle it’s own finances. There is a laissez faire attitude in Zambia. That is why me and my white wife have Swiss accounts. Vet safe and effective. Good luck. This is Zambia under pf.

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    • This is Zambia hehehe. Somebody abroad would write. THAT IZ ZAMBIA.

      Back to topic. What bailiffs did was broad daylight bank robbery. You can not uproot savers because it contains confidential materials

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  4. It serves Atlas Mara right. They thought I would sell my bank if it was in good shape surely. Ask KK, FTJ, Levy & RB. I played all of them.

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  5. Just close for good and go into liquidation. Thing is you won’t be able to handle the number of customers that will want to withdraw their jimbongo.This is what is called a RUN on a Bank.

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  6. The Creditor or the Bailiffs are I.T geniuses: Strike where it hurts most!
    They should just have ended at uprooting the servers!
    Believe me by Friday the Creditor will be settled and the Bank reopened.
    I’ve always known this strategy to be the most effective than pouncing on chattels like vehicles and furniture.
    Just don’t know why I.T. has not been fully appreciated in Chambia whereby no matter how educated in I.T. one is, in many companies I.T Officers still report to ZICA Accountants.
    Absurdity of the highest order!

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  7. What happens to my Kabompo people where there is one bank servicing Civil Servants for three districts including Zambezi and Chavuma (though there is KaNatsave)?
    Multiplication of poverty on the already impoverished!
    Ukalu waunene!

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  8. Signs of looming economic disaster explosion under ECL’s watch!
    This has severe ripple effects economically: individually, socially, nationally and corporate community!
    Brace you’A’selves for the gloomy finale!

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  9. Was Bank of Zambia not monitoring
    This bank?How do Baillifs come in
    A bank when banks are always regulated ?BOZ should put measures in place where Baillifs cannot move in a bank to grab property.customers will wait to withdraw all money once open causing collapse of bank.

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  10. Ati the guy being owed only realised what a twat he was when he tried to withdraw money from his atlas mara account hours later to pay the bailiffs

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  11. Serious consequences after all this. Customers will just close their accounts at the next hour the bank is open. Withdrawals will exceed alarming amounts and in no time the bank will close. This is disaster indeed. Its clear that the bailiffs are heartless also. They did not take into consideration the customers who will suffer the consequences. Why target the heart of the system. Its like someone targeting the heart of another. Clear murder case here. Someone should arrest the bailiffs for mischief and heartless murder to the bank. Is also clear that Bank of Zambia has failed us once more. It should have been monitoring these banks and not to let banks reach such stages. BOZ governor should resign. Its clear that MOF Minister has a hand in this he did nothing when at Bank of Zambia…

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  12. Oh shiit! How do I pay school fees tomorrow? Iwe bailiff, dont be a tweat, and you muzungu creditor you want your money at our expense, that is muzungu xenophobia you fyuul you will be arrested.

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  13. If this involved the servers, it is drastic. I am not sure they should have gone so far as to collect vital data equipment. It will be a miracle if this bank is revived and customers are served their dues. Where has the Bank of Zambia been? There is meant to be constant audit and supervision isn’t there?

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  14. We hear that they buried one server in the Chongwe Forest Reserve 27, where the Muzungu doesn’t know.
    Very clever Bank!

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  15. What a disaster for atlas Mara. They got off to a good start.
    Legacy from Finance bank eh?..what about due diligence? ..Are they saying they were conned by Finance bank?
    Something is not right here and I feel for the stranded customers. Its not a situation one expects to find oneself in. Very distressing and disturbing.

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  16. The Guptas of South Africa, Mathani in Zambia with finance bank, are you seeing the pattern? Dealing with India is not good for any nation.

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