If you drove past the Msida Skate Park this afternoon, you may have noticed a small group of people casually eating pizza outside the offices of EY.
These were clients of Satabank, protesting for their deposits to be returned to them over a month after they were frozen by the Maltese financial services authority.
The lunch symbolises how some of the bank’s clients have been reduced to eating the most basic of food as a result of most their funds being locked inside their Satabank accounts.
“It’s a nightmare. People cannot even begin to understand what we’re going through,” one client said recently. “My lifestyle had to change overnight. I started eating the things I had in the fridge and freezer but now that’s empty and I’m living on just bread and cheese.”
This is the third protest organised by Satabank clients, and the most successful by far, with EY chosen as a protest site as the financial services firm is the competent person administering the bank’ assets. Further protests are scheduled outside the offices of the MFSA, the Economy Ministry and Castille.
Around 12,000 people hold accounts at Satabank, mostly foreign residents who were unable to open accounts elsewhere due to the particularly stringent requirements set by other Maltese banks for foreign account holders. The MFSA has assured Satabank clients that their money is safe in the hands of EY and has informed local banks that EU law entitles all Maltese residents to a basic bank account.