Habib Bank to close its business in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles banking at 6:28 pm by Robert Klien


As the regulator of the country’s banking system, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) has reassured all clients of the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) that the bank has sufficient liquidity to fulfill its obligation towards all depositors and repay all debts.

This statement was made by CBS Governor Caroline Abel on September 21 during a press conference at the CBS boardroom, after announcing that the HBL had formally requested to close down its business in Seychelles.

The request dated and received by CBS on Monday September 10, 2018, was subsequently approved by the CBS Board on Thursday September 20, 2018, in accordance with Schedule 5 of the Financial Institutions Act, 2004.

The decision has already been communicated to HBL, while the notice shall also be submitted to the Registrar of Companies.

According to the management of the HBL, the decision to close down the business after years of operation is based on the strategic reorganisation aimed at increasing focus on its core markets.

Ms Abel explained that while HBL shall not be accepting any new business as of yesterday, following the CBS approval to close down its business, there is a clear process that the bank needs to undertake as part of its winding up. This includes repaying all of its depositors and other creditors in respect of its operations in Seychelles.


The HBL Seychelles branch was opened in 1976 and up to now, it has 1870 accounts, totalling to a sum of R96,512,461.65.


IMF says Seychelles needs to offset Income Tax Cuts

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles banking, Seychelles government, Seychelles' statistics at 2:11 pm by Robert Klien

According to the statement following an International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff mission to the Seychelles from March 9-22, the anti-poverty initiatives mentioned in last month’s State of the Nation Address need to be counteracted by other measures.

In his State of the Nation Address, the President Michel disclosed that, as well as minimum wage and pension increases, changes will be made from July 2016 to the personal income tax system, aimed to make it more progressive and reduce the tax burden on low-income earners.

At the conclusion of the IMF’s visit to conduct discussions on the 4th review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement with the Seychelles, the mission noted that, while the economy performed positively in 2015, “slowing growth or recession in a number of key tourism markets could weigh on economic developments in 2016.”

At the end of the IMF’s third EFF review, in January 2016, the International Monetary Fund had concluded that “continued fiscal discipline will be a critical anchor for macroeconomic stability.” It was confirmed that fiscal policy in 2016 continued to target a primary surplus of 3.8% of GDP (gross domestic product). However, the Fund’s latest mission estimated that the newly announced measures “would entail substantial fiscal costs – around three percent of GDP on a full-year basis.” It concluded that “it is important that policies to ensure that the economic benefits from years of strong fiscal consolidation are shared more widely do not undermine macroeconomic stability. The mission therefore recommends that [the new measures] be accompanied by offsetting measures to avoid putting pressure on the balance of payments, inflation, and public debt.”

In that respect, immediately following the IMF mission, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) took steps to reduce the excess liquidity within the monetary system. After analyzing the recent measures announced by the Government of the Seychelles, CBS was counteracting an expected increase in liquidity and demand for foreign currency in the coming months.


Credit Card Scams in Seychelles

Posted in Financial Services, Seychelles banking at 2:17 pm by Robert Klien

Since August 2015, the police were alerted to 3 incidents involving attempts of fraud of credit cards by card skimming devices in Seychelles.

In these 3 different incidents, the Seychelles Police arrested some people suspected to be involved in these fraudulent activities.

The first incident involved 3 Bulgarians. More than 800 credit cards had to be replaced after it was discovered that there were attempted thefts of information on these credit cards. In the hotel rooms of the Bulgarians, the Seychelles police discovered evidences related with the attempted fraud on the credit cards.

In another case, 2 Russians were arrested in early September in possession of 70 credit cards. They will be formally charged with attempted fraud. The police arrested them at the Seychelles International Airport situated on Mahé, on September 1. At the arrest, 70 empty credit cards as well as devices for copying information on credit cards were discovered in their luggage.

The third case involved 2 Americans arrested last week in possession of what police suspect to be counterfeit credit cards. The investigation is still ongoing, however they too will formally be charged for fraud attempts soon.


Afreximbank promotes its products on Seychelles market

Posted in Business and Economy, Offshore Banking, Seychelles banking at 1:32 pm by Robert Klien

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) aims to increase awareness of the bank and its products on the Seychelles market in a view to find ways to improve ease of access to credit for Seychelles’ business community.

A forum was organized by the bank to promote increased trade financing for Seychelles businesses by showcasing the line-up of financing programmes and facilities available from Afreximbank to the Seychellois business community. There were also presentations and case studies on how to access them. The bank offers include credit, loans and guarantees.

The forum was attended by the Minister for Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy Jean-Paul Adam; the Afreximbank regional manager of Southern Africa based in Harare, Zimbabwe, Gift Simwaka; the Governor of the Central Bank, Caroline Abel; representatives of Seychelles’ private sector organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, bankers’ associations, exporters associations as well as those of government-owned entities operating commercially in the country. The Central Bank of Seychelles was facilitating the event as a shareholder of the Afreximbank.

Afreximbank, headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, was established in October 1993 as a Pan African Exim Bank in order to stimulate a consistent expansion, diversification and development of African trade, while operating as a first class, profit oriented financial institution and a centre of excellence in African trade matters.


Banks sign low-interest commercial loan agreement

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles banking at 4:21 am by Robert Klien

The heads of the commercial banking sector and the Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment have agreed upon a mechanism to make access to finance for entrepreneurs easier and more attractive.

On July 15, the bankers met with Minister Pierre Laporte and the principal secretary for Finance and Trade, Dr Steve Fanny at Liberty House in order to sign a memorandum of understanding on the provisions of loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The signatories to the agreement with the ministry were Barclays Bank, the Bank of Baroda, Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Nouvobanq, Seychelles Savings Bank and BMI Bank.

The initiative will be launched within the next week. By July 22 the above-mentioned banks will officially be open to queries from the public.


Seychelles’ loaning banks must now consult CIS

Posted in Seychelles banking, Seychelles legislation at 12:45 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles’ financial institutions must consult the Credit Information System (CIS) maintained by the Central Bank of Seychelles (SBS) with effect from July 1, 2012 before giving loans.

Regulations on the CIS were issued in March 2012 but became obligatory only in July this year and require institutions which give loans to consult the system before they approve loans or renew any credit facility. Loan-giving institutions include commercial banks, the Housing Finance Company, the Development Bank of Seychelles and the Seychelles Credit Union.

CBS governor Caroline Abel said that the purpose of the CIS is to enable the institutions to assess prospective clients by giving them information on the repayment history and the level of debt of clients across the financial system.

It should be noted that previously banks could not share information as they were prevented from doing so by law. Now they may consult the system but maintain all the information they get about clients confidential.

Ms Abel said: “Having access to a customer’s credit history may allow the process of switching banks for customers, thus promoting competition in the banking sector”. She added that clients are free to shop around and settle for the bank that offers the lowest interest on loans.


CBS deputy governors appointed

Posted in Seychelles banking, Seychelles government at 1:48 pm by Robert Klien

President James Michel has appointed Christophe Edmond as First Deputy Governor and Jenifer Sullivan as the Second Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).

Both appointments are for 6 years and took effect on March 14, 2012.

CBS’ First Deputy Governor Christophe Edmond has been in the post of Second Deputy Governor since January 1, 2012, and has worked with the Central Bank for the past 9 years. CBS’ Second Deputy Governor Jenifer Sullivan has worked with the Bank for 9 years and has been the head of Financial Services Supervision since early 2009. CBS’ Governor Caroline Abel was formerly the First Deputy Governor.


IMF approves 4th review and releases USD 4.8 million

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles banking, Tourism industry at 6:46 pm by Robert Klien

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the 4th review of the Seychelles Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and will release USD 4.8 million. This was announced by Central Bank governor Pierre Laporte and principal secretary for Finance Ahmed Afif in a press conference held on January 12.

It was said that the IMF board is satisfied with the review carried out by its staff in November 2011 as “Seychelles has met all the benchmarks of its economic review programme under the EFF”.

According to Laporte and Afif, the IMF board has expressed concern about the potential impact on the tourism sector because of what is happening in Europe, which is the jurisdiction’s main tourism market, as well as because Air Seychelles has stopped direct flights to Europe.

In March 2012, the IMF mission is expected to return for the 5th review under the programme and then Seychelles is planning to have met set targets.


Seychelles can become African financial technology hub

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, Offshore Banking, Seychelles banking at 4:10 pm by Robert Klien

At the 17th anniversary lecture of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), Seychelles has been praised as having the potential to become the financial technology hub for African countries.

The event’s guest speaker, Arun Jain, chairman and chief executive of Polaris Financial Technology Ltd., a leading global financial technology company, said: “Being an archipelago in the African continent with a small population, Seychelles has the natural advantage for creating a niche for itself in the financial technology space. It has the potential to become the Financial Technology Hub for African countries and extend its expertise to neighbouring countries and position itself as a global financial technology stronghold. The late adoption of automation will be a boon for Seychelles since they will get the most advanced technology unlike some developed countries which still run on legacy systems.”

Other guests at the event were Seychelles’ President James Michel, the Governor of CBS Pierre Laporte, and the chairman of the Seychelles Bankers Association Michael Benstrong, who is also the managing director of the Seychelles Savings Bank.

Mr Jain addressed ministers, foreign dignitaries, bureaucrats, bankers, businessmen and academicians speaking on the theme of “Technological Innovations Driving Financial Services”.
He stressed the role of
– Smarter Identity – Single Identity for every citizen which could be used for
(a) banking transactions,
(b) social commerce transactions,
(c) government to citizen transactions;
– Smarter Infrastructure – Shared Financial Technology Infrastructure where all banks invest as shareholders and pay-per-use to drive efficiency.


Firms urged to give proper banking details

Posted in Seychelles banking at 3:35 pm by Robert Klien

With a view to ease electronic payment, firms having transactions with government-budgeted agencies are being urged to provide proper banking details.

This was said on August 30 by director budget management in the Ministry of Finance and Trade, Damien Thesée, at a press conference. The event took place at the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).

Christophe Edmond, the head of banking services division and Mike Tirant, director banking, currency and payment system services in the CBS, was also present at the press conference.

According to Mr Thesée, the Finance Department and the CBS introduced a system whereby payments to these clients can be made directly into their accounts as opposed to issuing of cheques. He said: “Government agencies submit their requests to the treasury and we process and make payments to the businesses’ commercial banks accounts.” This system gives provides the customers with a faster and more efficient service.

He said that the new system has also significantly reduced the number of customers who have to queue up in the CBS banking area. The system whereby payments were made only on week days and whereby cheques had to be cleared in banks in 3 days has been eliminated. However, it is important that customers understand this system will only work if they provide correct banking details (account number and name).

Mr Edmond noted that they are working with commercial banks in order to ensure improving and modernising their payment system as electronic transfer is less risky.

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