BML CEO: Online trading leads to USD shortages

Bank of Maldives CEO Tim Sawyer. (Photo/BML)

Bank of Maldives Managing Director and CEO Tim Sawyer has spoken out about the reason why the bank decided to bring changes regarding payments of USD through online trading platforms.

BML will now be converting the USD payments into Maldivian Rufiyaa before depositing the payments to the MVR accounts of customers. These include payments received through means such as Mastercard Send and Visa Direct.

Tim said that the bank had been depositing payments of lower than USD 350 obtained from online trading platforms and digital wallets to USD accounts of customers. Many of these customers utilize the credit or debit card to top up US dollars at the rate of MVR 15.42 to digital wallets and obtain USD through the USD accounts, said Tim.

He added that such customers often traded the US dollar currency in other markets, obtained through these means, after withdrawing the payments through ATMs.

Tim stated that this had led to an increase in the amount of US dollar leaving the bank, which led to a reduction of US dollar supply in the bank, which in turn brought challenges to the bank in providing the US dollar for important purposes such as TTs. 

The measure regarding online payments was to control the amount of US dollar leaving the bank to ensure that there is an adequate supply of US dollar for important purposes, said Tim. 

The Maldives has been hit hard economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sources of income into the nation have dried up as the tourism industry became stagnated. Tourism is the biggest source of the US dollar into the Maldives.