James Mushore Speaks About Starting NMB Bank And Escaping Zimbabwe

James Mushore, founder at NMB, spoke to Trevor Ncube this morning about his life and business.

Mushore is now retired and is no longer directly involved in the bank he founded.

Key Points from the interview.

1.Mushore said he is currently looking after his 86 year old mother. His father told him to take care of his mother before his death.

2. Mushore is also consulting people who are sending up his business.

3. He also has a small property portfolio that he is looking after on behalf of the family.

4. He says living in Zimbabwe is very difficult if you are a straightforward person.

5. In 1992, Mushore was at St Michael prep school in Borrowdale. His parents were Roman Catholics, they attended St Peter’s Parish.

6. Mushore’s family lived at  4460 in Highfields.

7. He went to St George’s for his High School. He and his cousin Chiweshe were the first black kids in the school.

8. His parents will come and visits during the weekends and found him bruised.

9. Mushore told a story of how one open day, his parents came and his name was always at the top performerd list. His father had an altercation with the mother of his best friend after she called him the K word.

10. Mushore started playing hockey and he experienced a lot of discrimination.

11. After St Georges, Mushore went to the UK at Polytech. He joined his sister who was nursing.

12. At Independence he came back and joined Coopers And Lybrand.

13. He qualified as a Chartered account and he was the second partner at Coopers And Lybrand.

14. He asked for a second meant to London.

15. In. 1989, At the end of his secondment, Julius Makoni asked him to help start a bank on Zimbabwe.

16. Mushore said Francis sent him the numbers, and he could not believe the numbers.

17. He came back to Zimbabwe with Coopers And Lybrand and they started working on the business plan.

18. William Nyemba was also part of the plans.

19. From Nov 1990, they only got the license IN June 1993 because of resistance from the regulators.

20. Raising funds was not easy. Getting confidence from the big companies was not easy.

21. The also put in their own money.

22. The bank was open on 1 June 1993. Mushore was still with Coopers and Lybrand in Zambia and had to give one year notice.

23. Mushore s name was registered as the CEO. Julius was still with the IFC and they didn’t want to disclose that he was involved. Mushore would charter a plane to pick him up in Zambia, so that he would attend meetings with the IFC in Harare.

24. Mushore said he was fortunate that there were people around him who didnt care where he came from.

25. After licencing, NMBZ was the first black merchant bank to be licenced.

26. The existing 4 merchant banks were a cartel. After 18 months NMB was the biggest merchant bank.

27. The success came from the hunger to succeed. NMB had systems, so that the bank could survive beyond the founders.

28. NMB facilitated the CBZ and Econet IPOs.

29. When Gono went around asking for people to assist with the BCCI IPO, no one wanted to touch the bank.

30. Econet was from retrofit and all the licencing issues, and he came to NMB and he was listed.

31. NMB was the go to bank. They eventually applied for a commercial bank licence.

32. They listed on the LSE to get access to international capital

34. More black banks were being listed because the authorities saw the benefit of having black banks.

35. When Leornard Tsumba left the RBZ, the inflation was 257%. When Gono took over he started to print money and the banks liquidity ratio suffered.

36. A number of the banks became illiquid by trying to go into something that would store value.

37. They bought property.

38. NMB was fortunate that they were not in that situation. The government was also told that the black banks were supporting the MDC.

39. NMB was presented with a list with all the foreign currency deals. The bank told the RBZ that the transactions that they were being asked to account for was the ones that the RBZ had asked them to preform.

40. Mushore then said he left the country after he realised that the RBZ was after him.

41. Mushore says he was on Lake Kariba and he was with his passport everywhere.

42. On Friday January 31 2004, there was a bankers dinner. The guest of honor was Gideon Gono. Gono started attacking the bankers for not a quiting CD forms.

43. The following morning, the head of security called and said his office and Julius Makoni’s office had been brocken into.

44. They had taken the computer and hard drives.

45. Money was stolen and there was candle wax on his office.

46. A few days later there was a meeting at the Central Bank. He asked him to remain at the office. He told him that day Nyemba would be out of Trust Bank.

47. A few day later he went to Zambia to interview a replacement for one of his executives. His wife called and said cars had came to the house wanting to arrest him.

48. He called his sister who is a lawyer and she told him to come back. When he went to the house boat to pack, she told him to leave the country.

49. He walked to the Zambian side. Eventually he went to the UK through Johannesburg.

50. The bank was charged over these allegations. In 2007, after three, Mushore and his colleagues agreed that one of them had to go back.

51. He came back in September 2007, got the airport and nothing happened.

52. The AG said he wasn’t looking for him. He went back to London a fortnight later and when he came back he was detained. He sat down and nothing happened.

53. He left  the airport and went to his parents house. 2 cars of policeman came to the house and took him to CID fraud. It was on a Wednesday.  They locked him at Rhodesvile Police station for the over 48 hours and they released him.

53. He was eventually granted bail after spending 17 days in Remand.