VBS Mutual Bank logo. PHOTO: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – The curator of VBS Mutual Bank, Anoosh Rooplal, said on Thursday that unused and redundant assets of the embattled bank will be sold and all proceeds will be to the benefit of the creditors of the bank.

The creditors include municipalities, trade creditors and the remaining retail depositors who currently have over R100 000 deposited in the mutual bank.

The South African Reserve Bank placed VBS Mutual Bank under curatorship in March after it was found that the bank was facing a liquidity crisis. Last week, an explosive report by Advocate Terry Motau revealed how almost R2 billion in bank's coffers was looted by at least 53 individuals and entities over the last few years.

Rooplal said he had to reduce all non-critical costs of the embattled bank by closing branches with low traffic, including the Thavhani, Johannesburg, Durban and the Sibasa branches, in a bid to align cash inflows with the cash outflows.

VBS has only two remaining branches, Thohoyandou and Makhado have been reduced in size after 94 staff members retrenched. 

This left only 26 workers involved in collections, operations, and administration aspects of the bank and two general managers. These remaining branches will continue to service the loan account holders, whose contracts remain binding with VBS.

Rooplal said the VBS head office has also been streamlined and staff have been moved into one office block to make more space available for potential new tenants. 

"We have unfortunately had to reduce the staff compliment at the bank. This is always a tough decision and we have been comprehensive and transparent to all staff members in the process," Rooplal said. 

"We have followed an extensive consultation process as prescribed by the Labour Relations Act with the inclusion of the [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration] CCMA from the start."

Rooplal also said he has had to reduce the salary costs of the mutual bank as a necessary last resort, beginning with a consultative process that began in July that the bank needed to reduce the staff compliment. 

"We have made available emotional and financial counselling for the family members of the retrenched staff. In addition, we are providing all the necessary administrative assistance to all retrenched staff in order for them to claim unemployment benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and for them to obtain their tax directives from Sars," Rooplal said.  

African News Agency (ANA)