• Guaranteeing deposits in the failed VBS Mutual Bank has cost the SA Reserve Bank R257 million so far.
  • But not all depositors have been repaid yet. 30% of the bank's retail customers have not claimed back their money.
  • Those accounts are mostly worth less than R1,000 each, the Reserve Bank says.
  • Erstwhile clients have until 8 July 2021 to lay claim to their cash.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

So far the SA Reserve Bank has paid R257 million to cover deposits from individual customers in the failed VBS Mutual Bank.

But some 30% of the bank's retail depositors have not yet claimed the money waiting for them; a total of 5,268 people who handed the bank money at some point, and haven't asked for it back.

In the greater scheme of things, the amounts involved are not huge. The majority of the accounts in questions have balances below R1,000, the Reserve Bank told Business Insider South Africa.

Still, the claims process is not complicated, the money is free for the taking – and strenuous efforts have been made to reach depositors, the Reserve Bank said in answer to questions.

"Efforts to reach out to depositors included stakeholder and marketing campaigns organised by the curator to create awareness among retail depositors aware of the deposits claim process. This included a radio campaign and activations/stakeholder activities at the main Thohoyandou branch. Nedbank has also been running campaigns during the past 18 months to reach out to retail depositors and will continue to do so using mainly radio to reach a broader audience."

Nedbank is acting as the agent for the repayment of VBS depositors.

Claims to the money will eventually close, but depositors still have a full year to lodge them; the window period for such claims expires on 8 July 2021, the Reserve Bank said.

An investigation into VBS found that the perpetrators of a "heist" at the bank escaped with some R2 billion, with huge bribes and "gratuitous payments" a strong feature of its operations.

That money often came from municipalities (some of which needed the cash desperately), burial societies, and small individual depositors.

The Reserve Bank guaranteed retail deposits of up to R100,000 using a commitment of up to R336 million in state funds, after the bank collapsed.

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