Bank of Valletta has vehemently denied a report that it has reversed a decision to terminate the accounts of some gaming companies as part of a de-risking programme.
“The Bank has not reversed any account closures and no form of correspondence has been sent by the Bank asking recipients to ignore any original notices,” a BOV spokesperson told Lovin Malta.
Times of Malta reported today that some gaming companies which were recently informed that their BOV accounts would be closed have now been told to ignore the original notice as they were sent to them by error.
“It seems that in the de-risking exercise, letters were sent to almost all gaming operators without distinction. This has now been rectified and the bank admitted that this was an error on their part,” The Times said, quoting a gaming industry source.
However, a BOV spokesperson said he has no knowledge of any bank account holders who were first told their accounts will be closed and later told they won’t be closed after all. He added that he couldn’t rule out such cases arising out of human or technical errors.
Following instructions by the European Central Bank and the Malta Financial Services Authority, BOV has embarked on a large-scale de-risking programme. Over the next two years, it will review every single bank account holder and check whether they are compliant with the upgraded requirements.
Some clients won’t be impacted, others will be asked to provide the bank with more information to keep their accounts open and others will have their accounts terminated entirely. Several gaming companies are already falling into the latter category, a major blow for the industry seeing as BOV was previously the only major Maltese bank willing to take them on as clients.
“We’re updating our records according to the latest standards,” the BOV spokesperson said. “We want BOV to become the safest bank in Europe in a couple of years but it will take some heartache.”
“The bank is kindly asking for our customers’ kind cooperation primarily with respect to deadlines and the provision of correct and complete data. We understand that this might cause inconvenience. We have also set a dedicated help desk specifically to assist customers in relation to this project. 22755200.”
“We will be requesting such information over the coming months as part of the bank’s two-year holistic transformation programme.”