File image: Reuters.
File image: Reuters.

Bank of Baroda finally explain why they are leaving SA

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Feb 15, 2018

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CAPE TOWN - The Bank of Baroda tells 702 Radio’s Bruce Whitfield why they are exiting South Africa. 

This follows the bank’s Monday announcement that it had exited SA. They also reportedly notified the Office of the Registrar of Banks of their departure. 

This marks the last bank who have been doing business with the Gupta’s. 

The Money Show’s Whitfield interviewed Bank of Baroda legal representative, Lourens van Staden. 

Van Staden said that the reporting on certain aspects on the Bank of Baroda have been uninformed. 

He addressed the reports that the bank allegedly has been fined for not complying with international money laundering regulations. 

He slammed these accusations by saying that nothing can be further from the truth. 

He then admitted that the bank faces a R11 million fine from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). 

On why the bank has exited SA, van Staden said that it is a multi-jurisdictional restructuring. He also pointed out that the bank’s business in SA comprises of less than one-quarter of one percent of the bank’s business. 

He concluded that commercially, it isn’t viable for the bank to conduct business in SA. 

Meanwhile, the bank said in a statement that it would ensure an orderly exit. (BoB) added that SARB would not be affected in terms of financials. 

In line with the bank’s strategic plan for rationalisation of overseas branches, the bank is exiting its operations in South Africa.

"The business of the bank in South Africa is not very significant,” BoB said.

The bank in recent months has been engaged in a legal wrangle with the Gupta family and their companies after it threatened to close the Guptas' bank accounts.

The bank told the court the Gupta companies had conducted between 150 to 200 transactions a week and the bank has reported more than 30 suspicious transactions valued at R4.2 billion to the Financial Intelligence Centre.

The central bank said that the BoB had notified the Office of the Registrar of Banks of its exit from South Africa.

"The Registrar, which is part of the SARB, is in discussions with the Bank of Baroda to ensure its orderly withdrawal from South Africa so that no depositor is disadvantaged,’’ SARB said.

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