Thursday, 29 October 2020

Pretoria: Anoosh Rooplal, the liquidator of the failed VBS Mutual Bank, has warned that depositors have until July 2021 to claim their investments.

The bank was placed under curatorship in March 2018. In July that year, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) announced that, with effect from 13 July 2018, qualifying retail depositors could have access to their deposits at any Nedbank branch, limited to a maximum guaranteed amount of R100 000 per retail depositor.

When VBS was put into final liquidation on 13 November 2018, Rooplal was appointed as the liquidator.

In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the liquidator, depositors and creditors were updated on developments on the payment of qualifying retail depositors, other depositors, creditors and suppliers.

On 13 July 2018, while VBS was still under curatorship, retail depositors with deposits of up to R100 000 in their VBS transactional and savings accounts were able to claim their funds through Nedbank branches.

“In total, 17 894 retail depositors qualified for repayment through Nedbank branches. Of the aforementioned qualifying accounts, 17 750 accounts were opened with Nedbank and the SARB transferred an amount of R261 million to Nedbank for the payment of qualifying retail depositors,” reads the statement.

As at last month, 12 220 retail depositors with take-on balances amounting to R255.8 million had activated their accounts with Nedbank, while 5 530 retail depositors had not.

The liquidator and the SARB said efforts have been made to reach out to all affected depositors to create awareness of the process to claim deposits.

Qualifying retail depositors who have not yet claimed their deposits at Nedbank have until 8 July 2021 to do so through any Nedbank branch. The SARB encouraged those qualifying depositors who have not yet activated their accounts to do so without any further delay.

The SARB, Nedbank and the liquidator will continue with proactive attempts to contact impacted retail depositors.

Liquidation update

Updating on the liquidation process, the two said Rooplal had recently received from the Master of the Court all creditors’ claims lodged against VBS at the meetings of creditors.

“This includes claims from individual retail depositors, stokvels and burial societies, which exceeded the R100 000 guarantee threshold, as well as claims from corporate entities, municipalities and suppliers.

“In accordance with the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936, the liquidator’s team has undertaken to verify the validity of all claims received and will expunge or remove those claims that are deemed not to be legitimate. The team will also reduce certain claims, should a claim submitted by a claimant not be in agreement with the records of the bank,” reads the statement.

The liquidator received claims from 171 individual retail depositors, which cumulatively amounted to approximately R41.5 million. Burial societies, stokvel and other claims constituted 240 claimants with a value of approximately R20.5 million. These depositors individually held deposits of more than R100 000 with VBS.

Rooplal said he had begun the process of reconciling and assessing all claims received.

“We will now be able to report and communicate more often with the proven creditors in order to keep them updated of the liquidation process,” he said.

Collections on the loan books, which comprise the amounts owed to the bank, are progressing according to the collection strategies employed by the liquidator and his team. Unfortunately, the collection process has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the liquidator said it remains committed to maximizing collections for the estate. The liquidator continues to institute and monitor civil proceedings as well as to cooperate and provide information when subpoenaed by the various enforcement authorities who request information for their ongoing criminal proceedings.