Gov­ern­ment’s hard­ship fund for Sata­bank cor­po­rate clients not op­er­at­ing yet – GRTU

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS - Al­bert Galea

The gov­ern­ment’s hard­ship fund meant for Sata­bank cor­po­rate clients is still not yet in op­er­a­tion, GRTU CEO Abi­gail Mamo told The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day when asked about the GRTU’s view on the cur­rent Sata­bank sit­u­a­tion.

Some of Sata­bank’s cor­po­rate cus­tomers be­gan re­ceiv­ing the funds that they had stored in their bank ac­counts last week. Mamo told this news­room that the cor- po­rate clients have been con­tacted ac­cord­ing to how much money they had stored into their ac­counts, start­ing from those who had the least. The same process had been used by the bank in the release of the funds of pri­vate clients. Mamo said that thus far, cor­po­rate clients had re­ceived a generic email list­ing the doc­u­ments re­quired for their funds to be re­leased.

In the mean­time how­ever, a hard­ship fund op­er­ated by Malta En­ter­prise was meant to have been opened. It was cre­ated, Mamo said, af­ter the GRTU put sub­stan­tial pres­sure on au­thor­i­ties due to the pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion that a num­ber of busi­nesses had found them­selves in due to the freez­ing of their ac­counts.

The Hard­ship Fund was meant to deal with the busi­ness’ crit­i­cal ex­penses such as wages – the last some busi­nesses paid in wages was in Septem­ber be­fore the ac­counts were frozen – taxes, rent, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity, so they could keep op­er­at­ing.

It was specif­i­cally cre­ated to come in as an in­terim solution un­til the money is slowly re­leased, Mamo said.

How­ever, so far it “doesn’t seem” like any money has been re­leased from the fund, Mamo said. The GRTU had wished that the fund would be­gin help­ing busi­nesses around the fes­tive pe­riod so that at the very least salaries could be paid prior to Christ­mas how­ever, Mamo said, this has not been the case.

She said that she could not un­der­stand why the process was tak­ing so long, not­ing that there are no ques­tions of checks or due dili­gence pro­cesses: “they’re very straight­for­ward trans­ac­tions”, she said.

The hard­ship fund was made avail­able as of 26 Novem­ber 2018 to cor­po­rate clients of Sata­bank with em­ploy­ees re­sid­ing in Malta, and who have:

• Paid op­er­at­ing ex­penses through their Sata­bank ac­count on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions;

• Suf­fi­cient funds with Sata­bank to cover the re­quested bridge loan; and

• A sub­stan­tive nexus to the Mal­tese econ­omy.

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