Satabank account holders in a state of desperation, GRTU says

Clients of Satabank cannot use their funds after the financial services regulator froze the bank’s operations but the situation is now also hitting shops in the Msida-to-St Julians area

Satabank customers have been left high and dry after the regulatory authorities came down on the bank
Satabank customers have been left high and dry after the regulatory authorities came down on the bank

Clients of Satabank are facing “grave financial and cash flow difficulties” after the financial services watchdog froze the bank’s operations, the retailers’ union said today.

The GRTU said information on what will happen to the bank was “very scarce” and calls to Satabank were being diverted to a call centre in Bulgaria.

Satabank was ordered to stop taking deposits and had its St Julians branch closed last month in the wake of shortcomings in the bank’s anti-money laundering procedures.

Audit firm EY was appointed by the Malta Financial Services Authority as the competent person to administer the bank. The MFSA later instructed EY to affect “controlled return” of customer deposits.

The situation appears to have hit many bank customers, primarily foreigners working in the gaming industry.

In a statement, today the GRTU said that with workers finding difficulty to open bank accounts through the major banks in Malta, many shifted to E-money accounts in Satabank and elsewhere.

“These, many Maltese businesses and workers, who have Satabank accounts, are now in a state of desperation… Besides being alarmed due to the plight of its members, GRTU is also concerned about the effect this is having on retail sales,” the GRTU said.

With bank customers, unable to access their funds the problem is spilling over to retailers in the Msida, Gżira, Sliema and St Julians area.

GRTU has asked businesses hit hard by the Satabank saga to get in touch with it. The organisation will be holding a meeting for members with accounts at Satabank to inform them of latest developments and what corrective measures can be taken.

“GRTU is actively in discussion with all relevant authorities to limit any repercussions this is having on businesses,” the GRTU said.

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