SARB agrees with VBS shareholders on process and criteria for new banking license

The new process has been introduced after shareholders expressed interest in saving the bank.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) announced in a statement on Friday 7 August, that, following a “fruitful” meeting with Chief Livhuwani Matsila and VBS Mutual Bank shareholders, any interest in banking activities similar to those offered by VBS would be considered as a new banking licence application. 

This comes after municipalities suffered millions in losses due to the VBS bank heist.

“The SARB again emphasised that VBS was in the process of being liquidated and that reinstating the banking licence was not an option. The SARB also clarified the process and criteria for applying for a new banking licence,” the statement read. 

The meeting came after SARB received a number of letters from parties seeking to have VBS Mutual Bank revived. 

Investment holdings company Africapacity’s chief investment officer Enoch Ratlabala, who represented a group of shareholders that hope to save the bank, said shareholders he represented were not offered the debt book, which made it difficult to make progress in saving VBS from liquidation. 

"If the Reserve Bank says they must apply for a new license, it would be the decision of the shareholders' forum. The law is clear that if it can be saved, the process must be allowed. But if the liquidators do not offer you the debt book, there is not much that can be done," he said.