Independent bank DSB has been put into the hands of administrators after the Dutch central bank imposed ’emergency regulations’ on its operations because the bank’s ‘short term survival’ is under threat.
A court in Amsterdam appointed two administrators on Monday morning and receivers are also being sought for the bank’s insurance activities, the central bank said in a statement.
‘The large outflow of liquidities jeopardised DSB’s existence in the short term. Moreover, DSB’s solvency is under serious pressure,’ the central bank says.
DSB, started by former policeman Dirk Scheringa, has been hit by a crisis of confidence following claims it saddled customers with mortgages they could not afford and unnecessary insurance policies.
All savings at the bank have now been frozen and bank customers can use their bank cards to withdraw a maximum €750 – or €250 a day – before Wednesday afternoon.
Savers with up to €100,000 in the bank will be able to get their money back under the country’s deposit guarantee scheme. But some 4,000 people with savings in excess of this amount are likely to lose the rest. And some 4,000 people with subordinated deposits, which earned interest of around 6.5%, are not covered by the guarantee scheme at all.
Finance minister Wouter Bos said at a news conference that he is setting up an independent inquiry into events at the bank, including the way the executive board carried out its duties.
Former finance minister Gerrit Zalm, who is currently in charge at ABN Amro, was chief finance officer (CFO) at the bank until the end of 2008.
Zalm issued a personal statement on Monday afternoon. ‘I believe that during the period of just over a year I spent as CFO I successfully sought to achieve improvements in policy. I am confident that this will be confirmed by the investigation that has been announced and in which I will obviously fully cooperate,’ Zalm said.
It also emerged on Monday that a consortium of five banks – Rabobank, ING, Fortis, ABN Amro and SNS had been involved in talks to take over DSB last week. But these discussions failed because of ‘prohibitive’ risks associated with possible legal action, the central bank said.
Central bank president Nout Wellink told reporters he rejects claims by DSB founder Dirk Scheringa that someone at either the central bank or finance ministry had deliberately leaked information about the bank’s precarious position.
Five banks were involved in the talks on DSB’s future, he pointed out. And, Wellink said, talks on solving the problems at the bank had begun well before October 1. These meetings were broken off after activist Pieter Lakeman used a tv show to call on clients to withdraw their cash from the DSB Bank.