By Our Reporter
Whoever is bewitching Dfcu Bank is not about to stop, because the Bank seems to be sinking into a sea of financial quagmire.
As you read this, we have it on good grounds that the troubled bank is reportedly finalizing preparations for the closure of 19 branches which they have been operating upcountry, mainly because most of the buildings that housed these branches are owned by Meera Investments Ltd, which had leased them to defunct Crane Bank, and later dfcu bought from Bank of Uganda but under a shady, boached deal.
Another source intimated to this reporter that the other reason they could be closing down is because customers have since drastically reduced due to alot of uncertainties about its future, to the extent that if they insisted on keeping them (branches) operational, the cost of maintaining them could eat into their capital and cause more harm. Otherwise,if the business was booming,they could even opt out of Meera’s buildings and rent other buildings around,the source said. “Change of buildings is very normal to a thriving business,even address, people shift businesses miles away and they keep their old customers. Satisfied customers will walk miles looking for you,so leaving Meera’s buildings is not the main issue,the main issue is…. business is not doing well,period,” he added.
Dfcu Bank took over Meera’s properties following the ill-advice of their then lawyers of Lule, Sebalu & Co.Advocates.
However, later when the directors of Meera Investments Ltd , Dr Sudhir Ruparelia and Rajiv Ruparelia dragged dfcu bank to the High Court, it was ruled that dfcu Bank erroneously took over properties belonging to Meera Investments Ltd and that they should vacate the same, on top of compensating the Petitioner (Meera Investments Ltd) for the time the Bank had been occupying the premises, without the consent of the owners.
The court ruling opened a can of worms at dfcu Bank, which has since seen the Bank announce the closure of 48 branches across the country, such that they can relocate them to other premises, a move that is so costly that it is likely to see throughout Bank close shop for good.
So far the affected Upcountry Branches that face closure include the following; Masaka Branch, Jinja Branch, Mbarara, Fortpotal, Mbale, Soroti, Kisoro, Lyantonde, Kyengera, Ntungamo, Rushere, Luwero, Hoima, Arua, Gulu, Malaba, Iganga, Mukono and Busia.
However , our efforts to secure a comment from the public relations office of dfcu bank about the looming closure of the above branches were futile as they failed to answer our repeated calls.
Watch the space…….