VBS Mutual Bank says it has no one in the U.S. Virgin Islands, so anyone claiming to represent the South Africa-based bank is doing so fraudulently.
Monday, Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter, acting for the V.I. Banking Board, warned Virgin Islanders not to do business with VBS Mutual Bank or its alleged affiliates, US Virgin Islands Money PLC and Virgin Money Offshore Group PLC.
“Consumers in the territory and stateside are receiving telephone requests for monetary deposits from individuals who identify themselves as officers of these alleged U.S. Virgin Islands-based financial services institutions that use the address of 35 Dronningens Gade in St. Thomas,” Potter said in a news release.
He said none of these entities are licensed in the U.S. Virgin Islands nor anywhere else in the United States.
A quick search found there is an entity named VBS Mutual Bank with several branches in South Africa, but all online references to that entity refer solely to South Africa and nothing available online indicates it has any overseas or U.S. presence, which appeared to suggest someone might be fraudulently claiming to represent the actual VBS Mutual Bank when they do not. VBS Mutual Bank was established in 1982.
Wednesday, a VBS Mutual Bank representative responded to the Source’s efforts to verify if the bank has any presence in the territory.
“VBS mutual bank does not have any presence in the U.S. or anywhere overseas and therefore do not have any representatives overseas,” Ndileka Motebang, marketing manager for Mvunonala Holdings, wrote in an email. Mvunonala Holdings is an affiliate of VBS Bank, with both companies owned by Veles Investments.
While distancing the actual VBS Mutual Bank from Potter’s charges, Motebang also confirmed Potter’s central point: If someone approaches any USVI resident claiming to represent VBS Mutual Bank, they are not legitimate VBS Mutual Bank representatives so do not do business with them.
Potter has said the number of scam and fraud complaints have been rising since hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the territory and warned residents to be wary. Individuals with questions about a banking institution or financial services can contact the Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation on St. Thomas at Nisky Center, 2nd Floor, telephone number 340-774-7166 and on St. Croix at the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, 1131 King Street, 3rd Floor, telephone number 340-773-6459.