Hundreds of VBS clients already have new bank accounts, but no 'stampede' - Nedbank

There has been no "stampede" of VBS customers trying to withdraw money, David Schwegmann, divisional executive for retail and business banking at Nedbank, told Fin24 on Monday.

However, he added that hundreds of VBS clients had already come through Nedbank's various branches in and around the town of Thohoyandou in Limpopo and managed to open their new accounts. This means they will now be able to withdraw money at any Nedbank branch or ATM nationwide.

Fin24 reported earlier that VBS Mutual Bank is at the centre of a massive and ongoing fraud saga. At least R1.5bn was allegedly looted from it and used by executives who bought, among other items, luxury vehicles.

Vele Investments allegedly also benefited from the fraud committed.

Schwegmann explained on Monday that the SA Reserve Bank (SARB), on the advice of the curator of VBS and Treasury, requested Nedbank to facilitate the repayment of VBS' retail depositors' money.

The criteria for selecting Nedbank included proximity to depositors, cost structure, speed of execution and provision of similar types of products as VBS offered to its customers, according to Schwegmann.

The SA government has provided a guarantee to the SARB to facilitate the repayment of all VBS retail deposits up to R100 000 per retail depositor.

The original guarantee was R50 000, meaning it was doubled. The increase also meant that some 97% of VBS retail depositors - which include, stokvels, burial societies and individuals - will get all their money back.

VBS depositors have three years to open and verify their accounts. They are then free to either withdraw the money or keep the funds in their new Nedbank accounts.

"We are proud to have been able to assist VBS clients access their money, and to assure them that their funds are secure at Nedbank," said Schwegmann.

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