The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has said that it has received letters from interested parties who want to revive the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank.
The statement comes after a number of the bank’s executives and related parties appeared in court last month.
They include VBS chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi, the bank’s chief executive officer, Andile Ramavhunga, and former general manager of treasury Phophi Mukhodobwane. Also in the dock were non-executive directors Ernest Nesane and Paul Magula, both from Public Investment Corporation, and Phalaphala Ramikosi, who was the police’s former chief financial officer (CFO), as well as KPMG accountant Sipho Malaba. VBS CFO Philip Truter appeared on a later date.
In 2018 and following a liquidity crisis at VBS, the South African Reserve Bank appointed a team of forensic investigators to find out what had gone wrong.
The ensuing report – titled ‘VBS Mutual Bank — The Great Bank Heist’ – revealed “a wide range of criminality in the conduct of the affairs of VBS”.
On Friday, SARB said that it, and the Prudential Authority (PA), “have and will continue to engage with communities and other interested parties seeking to enter the financial sector.
“We do, however, wish to point out that VBS Mutual Bank was placed into liquidation by the High Court on 13 November 2018.”
As a result, VBS is being liquidated and the collection on loans is continuing. Assets are also being sold to recover monies owed to depositors.
The Reserve Bank added that it has provided R261 million, covering over 97% of retail depositors who originally deposited with VBS Mutual Bank.
To date, over 98% of deposit balances guaranteed by government have been claimed.
Because VBS’s previous banking license was suspended, it cannot be revived in its old form, SARB added.
“If anyone wishes to apply for a new mutual or commercial banking licence, they are welcome to do so. Any party wishing to buy any of the assets of the old VBS Mutual Bank may do so, through the liquidator. They can also apply to use the name VBS or
Venda Building Society, with the permission of the courts (and, in this case, the community involved),” the Reserve Bank said.