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.