Macedonian Central Bank closes Eurostandard Banka

The Macedonian national bank NBRM closed the bank Eurostandard AD Skopje last Wednesday because, in its opinion, Eurostandard did not meet the minimum operating criteria.

The governor of the National Bank, Anita Angelovska-Bezhoska, said at a press conference that the bank's closure would not jeopardize the stability of the Macedonian banking system and that savings should be refunded within the legal deadlines.

The next day, the central bank submitted a proposal to the competent court to open insolvency proceedings for Eurostandard Bank. An insolvency administrator has been appointed.

According to the state, as of July 31, 2020, exactly 136,619 depositors will be reimbursed 4.4 billion Macedonian Denar (EUR 71.31 million), while the remaining 780 depositors are either not or only partially compensated, as amounts only up to 30,000 euros are covered reports the Macedonian medium Republika.

"We assure the public that we have done our best to come to a different conclusion and to prevent the bank from closing," said Angelovska-Bezhoska.

Eurostandard has been subject to increased supervision due to risks in its business operations. The central bank has taken measures and increased the intensity of supervision to address deficiencies, including restrictions on credit activity.

According to the governor, the main problems with Eurostandard Bank resulted from past weaknesses rather than from the current state of affairs.

Bankruptcy of Eurostandard affects payment transactions at Macedonian Post

The Macedonian Post Office said it was unable to provide most of the usual services it offers to citizens, such as paying utility bills, paying retirement pensions and social benefits, after the Eurostandard Bank went bankrupt and thereby theirs Had lost license.

The bank of the oligarch and former mayor of Skopje, Trifun Kostovski, has signed an exclusive contract with the Post to handle most of its financial transactions through the extensive postal network. For many small town citizens, the Macedonian post office is or has been the only place for their essential financial transactions or the source of their income.

The head of the Macedonian "Scandal Post" Ejup Rustemi insisted that the corporation was not involved in the collapse of Eurostandard, but warned that the Post was in a dire situation before the bank went bankrupt.

During the pandemic, we had a huge drop in our revenue from postal services, mostly international traffic. Over 870 of our employees are mainly employed in this department. The proceeds from the financial transactions managed through Eurostandard provide the money we need to pay salaries to an additional 560 employees,” said Rustemi, adding that he is in intensive communication with the government and is looking for a solution to the problem.

Depositors angry - authorities are trying to calm down

An incident, shortly after the bank went bankrupt, was reported in Kavadarci when a man tried to get back the money he had saved and deposited with Eurostandard Bank. The police had to step in to defuse the situation.

The Bank Deposit Guarantee Fund, on the other hand, attempted to reassure depositors that their deposits would be refunded within 20 days. According to Macedonian law, deposits of up to 30,000 euros are guaranteed by the publicly managed fund (only for private depositors). On the other hand, the timetable for when citizens can hope to get their money back is uncertain.

Deja Vu with the SDSM. “Every time the SDS is in power, a bank goes bust. Like the scandal with the TAT Bank back then,” said an angry depositor in front of a Eurostandard bank. Countless people lined up before the banks across the country. Until now, they had made their payments or transfers at the post office, or received their pensions or social benefits there. The latter group now has to open an account in a bank by August 21st in order to be able to draw their services. In front of every bank branch there are currently countless angry citizens.

These are not only angry with the bank, the bankruptcy came out of the blue without notice, but also with the finance minister. It is the number one topic of conversation among those waiting in line:

Finance minister under suspicion - her savings withdrawn before bankruptcy?

Shortly after the bank's insolvency, there were voices in the Macedonian media, according to which Finance Minister Nina Angelovska had withdrawn her savings from the aforementioned Eurostandard shortly before the bankruptcy. She was directly accused of having been informed of the impending bankruptcy by the governor of the central bank and of acting for personal gain.

As mentioned in the text, deposits are insured up to 30,000 euros. Accordingly, the Macedonian media who made the case public concluded that the deposit was probably significantly higher. Details later became known that Angelovska had withdrawn or transferred 250,000 euros shortly before the bankruptcy.

Finance Minister Angelovska initially denied the allegations, only to claim that she had withdrawn money to do a real estate deal.

Now, after the allegations became known, the Macedonian State Anti-Corruption Commission launched an investigation into Finance Minister Nina Angelovska. The Commission is investigating the Angelovska case regarding a possible "conflict of interest". The existence of the deposit was revealed based on Angelovska's mandatory property reports submitted to the commission.

Angelovska achieved "notoriety" in Macedonia before her political time. She copied the successful American model Groupon and launched a Macedonian platform called Grouper, which is quite successful. She is pledged as an innovative business woman by her political fellows, but referred to by the other side as someone who stole and copied ideas. "This has nothing in common with innovations, even the color of the Groupon brand has been copied", they claim.