Two weeks into the closure of Satabank, clients who cannot access their money are “desperate and suicidal”, according to the GRTU, Chamber of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).
The GRTU is organising a meeting today for all business affected at 5:30pm, at its new premises in Floriana in the hope of coming up with a common position.
“There are around 15,000 accounts affected. That means hundreds of businesses who cannot pay their suppliers, issue salaries to employees or receive money. It also means thousands of people who cannot use their debit cards. Business is already feeling the impact of so many people not being able to spend money,” a spokesman told Lovin Malta.
Satabank was shut down by the MFSA due to alleged shortcomings in anti-money laundering procedures. EY was appointed to take control over the Paceville bank’s assets, making it the second time this year the MFSA ordered a third party to take over a bank. The first was Pilatus Bank.
Satabank was one of the few banks in Malta that accepted business from gaming companies. It was also one of the very few to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for foreigners, something that has become notoriously difficult in Malta.
“People who used to bank with Satabank have nowhere else to go. They cannot set up bank accounts elsewhere because nobody will take them.”
The spokesman also pointed out that some banks are specifically refusing former Satabank clients.
“We are getting hundreds of emails from people who are desperate, even suicidal, because they have been two weeks without access to their own money. This is a terrible situation and it cannot persist,” the spokesman said.