AgriBank stops cash payments

Obrein Simasiku

The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (AgriBank) will no longer accept cash as a form of payment starting from December. This decision is to curb money laundering in the country, said the public relations officer of the bank, Fillemon Nangonya in a statement.

‘’This change is an effort by Agribank to further contribute to the combating of money laundering in the country.’’

Money laundering is regulated in terms of the Financial Intelligence Act, with specific reference to Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

‘’This requires stringent verification of the source of cash funds and reporting thereon,” Nangonya emphasised.

The measure will also serve as a security of the bank’s employees who are receiving and handling cash payments across its eight branches, amid alarming cases of armed robberies.

“The Bank will only accept payment through electronic transfer, deposits at commercial banks and point of sale (POS) at the branches. This decision to discontinue cash payments at Agribank branches is in line with the Bank’s strategy to effectively manage the security risk facing the Bank’s employees that are responsible for receiving and handling cash payments across all eight branches of the Bank,” said Nangonya.

Nangonya said, Agribank is a non-deposit taking financial institution which does not provide banking services like commercial banks, thus the bank’s business is solely based on advancing loans to individuals, business entities, or financial intermediaries for the promotion and development of agriculture in the country.

“This implies that the Bank has limited cash handling facilities and does not charge clients for cash deposits. At the same time, the Bank continues to bear the costs when depositing cash in its own bank accounts at commercial banks,” he reasoned.

Furthermore, he said, Agribank services dictate that, one of the requirements when accessing Agribank loan products, is that an applicant is required to have a bank account with any commercial bank. Prospective clients who do not have bank accounts are required to open a bank account as a condition to access Agribank loan facilities.

“As such, the decision to not accept cash payments will not affect the ability of clients to make payments through electronic bank transfer and deposits through commercial banks. Clients are therefore advised to obtain Agribank bank account details from their monthly account statements at Agribank offices and make payments through commercial banks,” he said.

Clients are further advised to indicate their loan account numbers as a reference, when making loan payments, to ensure timeous allocation to their accounts.

“Alternatively, clients are also encouraged to sign up for debit order deduction services with the Agribank for once-off payments or re-current monthly payments. On that note, Agribank would like to encourage clients to continue honouring their loan obligations, by ensuring timely payment of their loan installments. This will enable the Bank to continue delivering on its mandate of promoting and developing the agriculture sector, to ensure national food security, promote sustainable employment, and improve overall economic growth,” stressed Nangonya.

By Observer