Closed Bank Pays $300,000 To Depositors

A second round of payments totaling $300,000 was made last week to depositors of the Agri­cultural Commercial Bank of Cam­bodia, whose funds were fro­zen after the bank was forced to close last year.

Agricultural Commercial was one of 11 banks shut down in December after the government raised the amount of capital lending institutions are required to keep to $13 million.

Depositors claim they lost more than $3 million when the bank closed and have protested to the National Bank twice hoping to get their money back. Sev­eral months ago, all depositors received either $500 or their full ac­count if it was less than $500.

About 90 percent of the people who registered showed up Thurs­day and Friday and were paid 15 percent of their original deposits, said Jean-Jacques Brutschi, an economic expert in charge of several bank liquidations begun under the new banking rules.

“It was very busy on Thurs­day,” he said. “Less on Friday. Most people rushed to get their money as soon as possible.”

Although the liquidation team is still trying to recover some of the loans made by Agricultural Commercial, there will be no more repayments to depositors this year, Brutschi said.

Samreth Sokheng, a representative of the Depositor’s Rights Pro­tection Committee, said the 15 percent return was enough to keep them from protesting again, be­cause the National Bank prom­ised them it would produce the necessary documents to file a case against Agricultural Com­mercial’s board of directors in an attempt to obtain more money for depositors. “If not, then we may protest again,” he said.

The committee met with Na­tional Bank officials last month af­ter about 200 demonstrators marched on the bank and called for the resignation of National Bank Director Chea Chanto, whom they claimed allowed their de­posits to be lost. Several other banks were granted provisional licenses until December, when they will have to meet the $13 million capital requirement.

 

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