“I’m worried because our money is blocked”, the lament repeated by Bancamérica customers

Bewildered and concerned were the clients of Bancamérica that yesterday around one in the afternoon they went to the bank’s offices and found that they were not offering services.

“In response to the Second Resolution of January 28, 2022 of the Monetary Board, the services of this entity are suspended. You will find more information on the website of the Superintendency of Banks…”, says the notice placed in the branches.

Clients were taken by surprise by the news and all said that they had just learned that the bank will be dissolved through the media.

“I am worried because our money is blocked,” said a foreign gentleman, who refused to give his name, who went to the main office in search of answers and found that it had been occupied by personnel from the Superintendence of Banks (SB ).

“I found today that I cannot move my money”; “Suddenly I couldn’t use my card”, were some of the expressions of the people who are part of the 28,485 clients of the entity that operated as a multiple service bank in the country since 2009.

Of the 28,485 depositors, that represent 0.34% of the financial system, 15,260 register a balance in their accounts and/or savings instruments, with a total of RD$ 3,257 million, according to the information provided by the SB.

Francisca Matos is one of those savers who could not use her money and will not be able to do so for at least the next 30 days.

“I am worried about the situation of my money, I came to withdraw it because I was at the doctor and I was going to buy a prescription,” she expressed bewildered.

Shareholder reaction

For the bank’s shareholders, the decision was also surprising, but they say they are willing to collaborate with the authorities so that the dissolution process is orderly, they said in a statement.

We do not share the motivations and results of this unexpected resolution and we are exercising all legal resources to obtain its annulment by legal means, since Bancamérica has a patrimonial solvency of assets that support regular daily operations and this decision does not do justice to the more than 12 years that we have worked in full compliance with the laws and regulations of the Dominican Republic, providing benefits to our clients. and to the economy of the country”, they indicated.

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A document released by the SB indicates that the Venezuelan citizen Víctor José de Jesús Vargas Irausquín directly owns 35% of the bank’s shares and, through the company Cartera de Inversiones Venezolanas, CA, owns the remaining 65%. Vargas is, in turn, the president of its Board of Directors.

bank situation

The document explains that Bancamérica presents accumulated losses from years prior to 2021 amounting to RD$851 million and losses of RD$147 million during the last fiscal year (data as of November).

“In addition to these negative results, the entity made business decisions that affected its prudential indicators, specifically its solvency,” he specifies.

Although the current authorities were in charge of monitoring Bancamérica once they took office in August 2020, The first requests for corrective measures by the Superintendency date back to May 2019.

The bank was subjected to a regularization plan with the plan the authorities tried to get the entity to repatriate deposits held in related entities abroad, increase capital and strengthen its collection methods and internal controls, but the bank failed to comply with established legal and regulatory provisions in the plan.

The Superintendence specifies that since it is a bank whose assets represent barely 0.13% of the banking system, with minimal interconnection, its output does not represent risk for the rest of the financial institutions.

What will happen to the money?

According to the document released by the SB, the assets and liabilities (loans and deposits) of Bancamérica will be transferred to another financial intermediary entity within the next 30 days.

The document explains that although the dissolution process must be carried out within 30 days, if necessary that time can be extended for another 30 days.

He specified that the deposits are guaranteed up to an amount of RD$1,860,000 (one million eight hundred and sixty thousand) per depositor. According to the agency, 98.1% of the entity’s depositors have savings below this threshold. That is most have their money guaranteed.

What will happen to the employees?

The SB indicates that the bank’s employees, who are 149 distributed in nine branches, will receive their employment benefits in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code and the Monetary and Financial Law.

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