Nemea Bank releases annual figures: ‘We’re profitable and highly liquid’

Online-only bank taken under administration tells MFSA to remove ‘groundless’ €250 limit on daily withdrawals

Nemea Group plc, owners of the online-only bank Nemea which recently went under administration in Malta, has released its first quarter results for 2016 in a message to depositors about its financial state.

The bank was taken under administration followed an on-site inspection by the ECB that was finalised in April 2016. “As a result of this joint inspection a number of serious regulatory shortcomings have been identified and the authority has decided to take regulatory action to safeguard the interests of depositors and other creditors of the bank,” the Malta Financial Services Authority said.

“These precautionary measures will remain in place until such time as the MFSA may direct otherwise.”

Nemea Bank posted a €214,000 pre-tax profit in the three-month period ended 31 March 2016, on income of €865,000. The bank has €68 million in assets, composed mainly of €30 million in loans and advances to customers and €22million in loans and advances to banks.

According to unaudited financial position in March 2016, the bank owed €61 million to customers.

In 2015, the bank posted a €207,000 pre-tax profit on operating income of €2.9 million.

“Our group subsidiary Nemea Bank plc is a completely safe, sound, profitable and highly liquid bank. We are taking the necessary measures to remove the groundless €250 daily withdrawal limit and to restore our clients’ full access to their funds,” Nemea Group said.

The banks’ owners have requested that the MFSA remove the withdrawal limit.

MaltaToday has reported that warnings on the “serious regulatory shortcomings” inside the online-only bank Nemea, which is headquartered in Portomaso, have been pouring in from the European Central Bank for the past 12 months.

MaltaToday understands that political pressure was also brought to bear upon the ECB to finally take action, when Belgian and Dutch depositors were being targeted by the online bank with some of Europe’s highest interest rates.

In 2015, the bank started marketing its 4% term deposits to attract 30,000 clients in the Belgian and Dutch market, so that it can start offering consumer loans by the second half of 2015.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers Malta has been appointed to administer the bank and take charge of its assets, but deposits from customers will be halted and withdrawals capped at €250.

The direct bank is owned by its two Finnish co-chairmen, Mika Lehto and Heikki Niemelä, and its directors include former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi and Joseph F.X. Zahra, recently appointed to head a special finance commission for the Vatican by Pope Francis. The bank is owned by Nevestor SA of Belgium (40%) while the rest is split between Ninovan Ltd and Shilmore Ltd of Cyprus (30% each), ultimately jointly owned by its founders Heikki Niemelä and Mika Lehto.

Nemea specialised in providing banking and investment services to individuals, businesses, institutions and high net worth individuals across the European economic area.

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