Zimbabwe cash crush: Angry customers assault local bank staff

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By the Source on December 17, 2013.

Angry Allied Bank depositors on Monday assaulted workers at the Third Street Branch and vandalised property after they failed to withdraw their money, a sign of deepening cash shortages in the country.

Onlookers alleged that a group of soldiers who had been queuing to withdraw their salaries attacked the bank staff after failing to get the money and were joined by other depositors in the assault.

A security guard reportedly threw a teargas canister into the rowdy customers inside the bank which had closed doors to control the crowd, resulting in some breaking the glass doors to flee.

Allied Bank chief executive, Stephen Gwasira said the incident was ‘unfortunate’, adding that the bank was making ‘aggressive efforts to address the liquidity constraints’.

“We are confident that these efforts will yield positive results,” he said in an email response to questions.

However,  officials who declined identification because they are not authorised to speak to the press told The Source that the bank has been facing cash shortages for a while.

“This is not something new, most branches did not have cash ready as early as 8AM and so the people should have been patient,” said the official.

Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) was rebranded Allied Bank Limited last year after an investment vehicle owned by transport minister, Obert Mpofu injected $23 million into the bank.

The attack on Allied Bank personnel follows a similar incident at Metropolitan Bank’s Mutare branch, which required police intervention to rescue workers.