WhatsApp 'hoax' raises alarm for Zim bank

Mobile apps. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Mobile apps. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Harare – A Zimbabwean bank is battling to contain a flight by depositors after a social media hoax message advised customers to withdraw their money.

The message alleged that NMB Bank is set to fold, prompting the bank and the central bank to issue statements saying it was stable.

"To those who have NMB accounts and haven’t heard the news I advise that you move your money as soon as is humanly possible. Got a tip from a senior manager that it is to go under curatorship," read the alleged hoax message.

Benefit Washaya, the chief executive officer of NMB, said the “bank remains in a sound liquidity position” and urged its depositors to “ignore the malicious messages about NMB Bank circulating on social media” platforms.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Wednesday described the message as being “malicious”.

"Members of the public are advised to ignore misleading statements from unauthorised and uninformed persons," central bank governor John Mangudya said.

“The Reserve Bank is the sole superintendent of the banking sector in Zimbabwe, and any information on the condition of banks, other than that published by the banking institution itself, should come from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” he added.

Johannes Kwangwari, an analyst in Zimbabwe, said banks should use social media technologies to frequently update their customers on developments.

"We don’t want to end up having regulation of social media usage; it is just one of the disadvantages of social media in that it is prone to abuse and there is little accountability for that but banks should make sure they use the social media to correctly communicate with depositors," he said.

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