The Malta Independent 21 April 2019, Sunday

Satabank: MFSA instructs competent person to affect controlled return of customer deposits

Wednesday, 24 October 2018, 17:25 Last update: about 7 months ago

The Malta Financial Services Authority said today that there will be a controlled process for the return of Satabank customer deposits over a period of time.

The decision was taken following consultations with the FIAU and the Central Bank of Malta and a further review of the position of the bank.

Earlier this month, the MFSA appointed auditing firm EY as a competent person to advise and monitor Satabank in the proper conduct of business. The measure came after a joint inspection and audit by the MFSA and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) found shortcomings in the bank’s anti-money laundering procedures, according to reports.

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Satabank was later ordered to suspend a number of its services, such as refraining from taking further deposits or processing any withdrawals or outward transfers.

The bank’s branch in St Julian’s was closed on Monday, with the bank saying that internal staff meetings were taking place. But the latest developments have unsettled customers of the bank, who say they have no access to their accounts.

“Satabank customers now have read only access to view their online account balances. There remains no access to submit transactions, make withdrawals or close accounts. We will continue to provide updates as soon as we are able to,” a spokesperson said Wednesday.

In its latest press release, the MFSA said it has directed the Competent Person to initiate a controlled process for the return of customer deposits over a period of time.

“The release of funds will be subject to certain controls and checks following which, funds may be transferred. This process will require Satabank customers to verify their identity and provide additional information and details of another account with a credit or payment institution in an EU/EEA jurisdiction in the same name as the existing account at Satabank to which monies can be transferred.

If a customer does not have an alternative account (with a credit or payment institution) in an EU/EEA jurisdiction, they are encouraged to set one up as soon as possible.

The relevant authorities are agreeing the process and further guidance will be provided by the Competent Person on the bank’s website as soon as practical, although this is likely to take several weeks. The Bank continues to meet all capital and liquidity requirements.”

This measure shall remain in force until such time as the MFSA shall otherwise direct and shall be without prejudice to any further regulatory action.

 

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