SMEs Big Losers In Chase Bank Mess

By Njoki Chege | The bank’s popularity was fuelled by its vibrant social presence that engaged the young people and made them open accounts, save and take loans.

Businesspeople have been left in shock on learning that they cannot access their money in Chase Bank.

For an institution that marketed itself as “the relationship bank”, Chase was the bank of choice for young entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Enterprises mostly run by women and youth.

The bank’s popularity was fuelled by its vibrant social presence that engaged the young people and made them open accounts, save and take loans.

Recently, Chase Bank secured Sh5 billion from the Africa Development Bank for lending to SMEs as part of its Sh60 billion lending target for the next three years.

Mr Francis Waithaka the managing director of Digital4Africa said his greatest pain was not the amount his company had lost, but the fact that most of his clients had accounts with Chase Bank.

“Even if I opened an account with another bank today, my customers will still have problems paying me. We can survive on our own, but the fact that our clients’ money is with Chase bank makes matters even more grim,” Mr Waithaka said.

When the news of the millions in losses broke on Wednesday, Mr Waithaka, like many others, called to find out if his money was safe.

“I was told not to worry because everything was under control. They told us not to panic and that is why we did not make withdrawals,” he said.

He added that he preferred Chase to bigger banks because it had positioned itself as being friendly with entrepreneurs.

“We are not a very big company. We are just two years old. Now, we have to go to the banks we have poor relationships with. Our five workers will suffer,” he added.

Mr Shamit Patel, whose company manufactures promotional materials, said the business would likely crumble.

He feared he would be left in debt and his four employees declared redundant.

Mr Patel took to social media to vent his anger and frustration.

“SMEs suffering today are collateral damage of a much larger battle against corruption in the financial sector,” he tweeted, “I’m distraught. Months of hard work chasing clients for payments so I can pay suppliers and now it is gone.”

Mr Robinson Ondieki, the MD of Kleva Solutions, said he was shocked and did not think rumours about Chase Bank were true.

 

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