CBL launches cheque clearance system

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) will implement a new automated system for clearance of cheque payments in Lesotho, CBL Governor Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane has said.

Dr Matlanyane told members of the press yesterday the new system is aimed at reducing the clearing cycle of cheque payments to two days, to eliminate the production of fraudulent cheques and to improve the security features of the cheques. “The system will go live of 9 August 2014. The initiative involves the introduction of new cheques, with upgraded security features and designs,” Dr Matlanyane said.

She said the new system will also eliminate the requirements of a physical paper for purposes of clearance. “Once deposited, the cheques will be scanned using specialised cheque scanners, creating images (cheque Truncation) which will be transmitted to the electronic clearing centre to be known as Maseru Image Automated Clearing House (MIACH),” she said.

Dr Matlanyane said the cheque issuing and clearing banks in Lesotho which are the CBL, First National Bank Lesotho, Nedbank Lesotho Limited and Standard Lesotho Bank, will use a network platform to their respective head offices for the transmission and transaction of the cheques.

“In this regard, bank branches… will utilise the network platform to their respective Head Offices for timely transmission of the transaction details with the corresponding images to ensure that the information reaches MIACH on the same day of deposit regardless of the location of the branch. This will ensure that the beneficiary can access the funds at end of business,” she said.

She said that customers were required to obtain new cheque books from their respective banks as soon as they will be available.

Corporate clients who print their own cheques were to contact their banks as soon as possible to ensure such cheques comply with the new standards, she said.

“The current cheques will continue to be processed manually until 31 August 2014 after which they will become invalid and not acceptable. The cutoff date for presentation of current cheques to banks is 25 August 2014.” To ensure visibility of the details of the new cheques, Dr Matlanyane urged the use of black or blue ink pens to sign.

“A black pen is highly recommended. The public is reminded that value of the cheque should not exceed M100 000. The public is further cautioned not to redeposit a returned cheque, deposit a post-dated or stale cheque or to fold cheques as this may impact on the readability of the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) code line,” she said.

Standard Lesotho Bank Chief Executive Officer, Mpho Vumbukani, said 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 said. CBL Head of Operations, Seabata Ntelo, said the banks will report to the apex bank after every six months about 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.

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