NewB will become an agency of the VDK bank and the way is open for cooperators who want to get rid of their shares
”Today, the NewB cooperators approved by a very large majority the changes to the statutes necessary for the implementation of a partnership with VDK Bank. This means that NewB banking customers will soon be transferred to VDK Bank (subject to regulatory approval). NewB will therefore become a banking and investment agent for VDK Bank as well as a partner of the latter in the pursuit of the development of an ethical and sustainable banking practice. NewB also remains an insurance agent for Monceau”. underlines the press release published on Saturday afternoon.
This partnership agreement was, it will be recalled, announced on November 23 by the management of NewB when it had not managed to find the 40 million in equity requested by the regulator, to ensure the continuity of banking activities.
Around 5,000 of the 117,000 cooperators took part in the vote. The decision received more than 95% of the votes among individual cooperators. Institutional investors voted unanimously and the finding was virtually the same for the civil society organizations involved.
No view on future profitability
Even if they approved the agenda, some cooperators are however not keen to continue the adventure with NewB and VDK, a small Ghent bank close to the Christian labor movement. This is the case for public investors in Brussels and Wallonia. “We voted for the modification of the statutes because it allows us to move forward. We support the solution with VDK Bank. On the other hand, the working group’s financial report is not sufficiently substantiated to form an idea of the agency’s profitability prospects. A priori, we should ask for the reimbursement of our shares in proportion to what will remain around April-mail 2023”explains Pierre Hermant, the CEO of Finance&Invest Brussels. Ditto for W.Alter, the partner of the social and cooperative economy that is part of the SRIW. According to documents obtained from reliable sources, he received “mandate to approve the merger and report thereafter. And the rest will be disengagement and exit”.
If the NewB project is therefore not completely buried, it has a much more limited dimension than that imagined by its designers and in particular by its president Bernard Bayot. The team, which will remain in the current premises, will be greatly reduced to be composed of 6 to 10 people depending on the scenarios. As for the agency, it is digital. The CEO, Thierry Smets is about to leave. “I will stay until the end of the banking licenseeither around next spring, he explains. For Bernard Bayot, “there is no reason for there to be any change”, the CEO tells us again.
Sale of shares
We also learned during the meeting that of the 180 million in savings deposited with NewB, 70 million remain in the form of cash and 50 million in the form of securities. And how many customers are there, which were around 20,000 at the best time? According to the CEO, “ it has been stable since the events of the weekend of November 26”, that is to say at a time when it was clear that NewB had to draw a line under its ambitions as an ethical bank, for lack of having generated a profitable business model. It is therefore difficult to know if many of them do not want to join VDK Bank because it does not meet their strict criteria.
As for the cooperators who want to withdraw as soon as possible, they should not recover much more than 10% of their stake given all the capital already consumed (in any case 35-40 million of the 50 million raised) and the amount of funds own (1.5 million) which will be maintained in the cooperative. A meager loot which should deter those who have invested a few tens of euros from taking the necessary steps for a refund. What reinforces the feeling of disillusionment of many cooperators…
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