VBS retail depositors to get their money back

Money. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Money. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

While the future of VBS Mutual Bank hangs in the balance with curatorship still in place, retail depositors of the bank will now have access to their funds. 

At a press conference in Pretoria on Monday the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) governor, Lesetja Kganyago, announced that over 20 000 depositors of VBS would receive their monies as long as the money deposited to the bank did not exceed R100 000. 

"Following discussions with National Treasury, government has provided a guarantee to the SARB to facilitate the repayment of all retail deposits up to R100 000 per retail depositor, starting from Friday, 13 July," said Kganyago.

"Retail deposits are defined as deposits in VBS by individuals, burial societies, stokvels and saving clubs, collectively referred to as retail depositors."

He added that the guarantee does not cover municipal or corporate deposits. 

SARB said Nedbank will facilitate the repayment of retails depositors. 

Kganyago said the depositors would then have a choice to either keep their money with Nedbank, take the money to another bank or withdraw a portion or the entire amount. The Nedbank accounts would be open for a three-year period. 

Any depositor with more than R100 000 will only be able to withdraw R100 000. 

"It is estimated that 97% of the 22 700 VBS depositors will receive all of their money," Kganyago said.

He added that they were mindful that some people may have bigger amounts deposited but that they would continue to recover as much money as possible from those who owe the bank. 

The investigations into alleged wide scale fraud at VBS is still ongoing and the investigation is expected to be concluded by September this year. 

"Initial findings of the investigation were made available to the curator by the SARB. The curator has used these preliminary findings from the investigation to launch urgent applications to take steps to recover monies owed to VBS," said Kganyago. 

He said that once the investigations have been completed, SARB will then hand over the evidence  to authorities for possible criminal charges. 

SARB announced earlier this year that VBS would be placed under curatorship as the mutual bank was facing a liquidity crisis. 

VBS curator Anoosh Rooplal said the bank would have to recover around R1.5bn for any hope that the bank could be saved. He also said that with the dire state the mutual bank was in, they have had to institute a retrenchment process. 

He added that since becoming the curator and discovering the sheer scale of fraud at the bank, he has become less confident about the possibility of restoring the bank. 

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