THE Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) was yesterday evening expected to launch the Maseru Image Automated Clearing House (MIACH), a new automated system for the clearance of cheque payments based on images at Lehakoe Recreation and Cultural Centre in Maseru.
The new system is aimed at reducing the clearing cycle of cheque payments to one day, to eliminate the production of fraudulent cheques and to improve the security features of the cheques.
According to the CBL, the MIACH system went live on 13 September with participant banks; the CBL, First National Bank Lesotho, Nedbank Lesotho Limited and Standard Lesotho Bank using a network platform to their respective head offices for the transmission and transaction of the cheques.
Clients of the respective banks, the CBL statement read, are expected by now to have acquired new cheque books that comply with MIACH requirements.
Corporate clients who print their own cheques were also advised to contact their banks as soon as possible to ensure such cheques comply with the new standards.
Among the advantages of MIACH touted by the CBL include eliminating the physical movement of a cheque from different bank branches in the country to the clearing house at The Central Bank of Lesotho.
“Cheque images will be scanned at the bank upon receipt from the depositor and will be sent to the MIACH offices for clearing,” the apex bank stated.
“Bank branches, in collaboration with their head offices, will ensure that the cheque image is sent to a MIACH centre on the day regardless of the branch location it was deposited at by the customer. This will make it possible for the cheque beneficiary to get funds on the next working day.”
MIACH, the CBL added, would result in the reduction of fraud in the sense that the cheques will have additional security features and amendments will not be allowed even if they are signed for, as well as eliminating the cost of collection of physical cheques around the country.
Standard Lesotho Bank Chief Executive Officer, Mpho Vumbukani, had told the Lesotho Times in June the new system will be efficient and effective.
“It will reduce the number of days that people had to wait until their transactions were processed. People can access their funds in a day or two,” Dr Vumbukani had said.
CBL Head of Operations, Seabata Ntelo, had also chipped in, saying the banks will report to the apex bank after every six months on how their systems are working. Mr Ntelo said the system was already being used in other countries and was doing well. “We hope that it will not let us down,” Mr Ntelo said.