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Sunday, June 6, 2010


CFC Stanbic's immediate past chairman Charles Njonjo at 90-years of age is still lucid and articulate. No sign of senility or alzheimer's there-- but then again his father the late Senior Chief Josiah Njonjo died at 103-years of age.

Such sprightly health cannot be claimed for the CFC Stanbic, the bank that Sir Charles founded along with PK Jani and Jeremiah Kiereini.

Customers of the bank last month started getting strange deficits or deductions in their accounts and some could not withdraw any money at all because apparently, it had been held.

Who issued the order to hold my money? Apparently, no one at the bank could explain it. In fact customers have had to be referred to CFC Stanbic's card center where one is asked to check back after an hour when the problem will have been fixed. But nothing doing.

It is now emerging that it all has to do with IT. You see when CFC Bank and Stanbic bank merged, they operated different banking platforms.

CFC, the bride in this marriage, operated the far superior Temenos 24 (T24) system while Stanbic's operations ran on Bankmaster.

A decision was made to adopt T24 for the new bank, and the process of migrating data onto the system begun.

Apparently, this integration is what caused the problems that many had with their ATM cards the whole of last month and for some people as far back as April.

Now what is scary about this whole thing is how long it is taking the bank to fix the problem. Firstly, even the amounts its showing for some accounts are wrong. It would appear that crucial data is not being accessed from the original database and in the end if this is the case, unless a scan of the old records is done, the bank could wind up either losing a lot of money or stiffing customers for a lot of money.

Insiders will tell you this whole marriage has been a rocky ride. Ex-CFC employees have always felt slighted even though they believe they are more knowledgeable than the guys who came from Stanbic.

And then to make matter worse, Stanbic which is a South African outfit, appears to have jobbed CFC alumni by making sure it raised the salaries of its employees just two months before the merger. So pay has been skewed in favour of Stanbic guys compared to CFC guys a matter than does nothing for staff morale.

Then South Africans behaving badly. One senior SA chap had the temerity to bring his wife to head a department in the new entity and when she couldn't perform, created a previously non-existent post for her to occupy.

CFC guys were promised salaries would be harmonized but that has not happened and they now feel that they are deliberately being pushed to make the decision to quit.

If this latest glitch with the IT system has anything to do with ex-Stanbic databases, expect little help from ex-CFC IT guys in solving it.


  1. A lot of Kenyan banks are experiencing problems with ATMs. For me, I have now resorted to doing over the counter withdrawals because each time I go to the ATM, I find it broken down. Its a pathetic situation because in this day and age, one would expect that ATMs and other banking services will be working flawlessly. I have also heard people complaining that ATM machines in Kenya tend to stop working towards the end of the month just when people need money. One wonders whether the banks are in a scheme to prevent too much cash withdrawals.

  2. Yes CFC had a superior IT platform that Stanbic chose to adopt, but its also clear there are HR and customer service issues that customers are feeling

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