Closed Banks Slow To Name Administrators

Eight of the 11 banks that did not receive a new banking license have failed to appoint provisional administrators to oversee their closing operations, further ham­­­pering depositors trying to retrieve money from now-defunct ac­counts.

All of the 11 banks were to appoint an administrator by Wed­nes­­­­­day, said a senior of­ficial at the central bank.

The central bank’s internal regulations re­quire a liquidating bank to select an administrator within 10 days after the order to close is issued, he said. The ad­ministrator will have three months to tally the banks’ assets

Three other banks among the 11—Cam­bodia Inter­na­tional, Cambodia Far­mers and Chan­sav­ang­wonk—have been inactive for a few years and are al­ready well into the liquidation pro­cess, the central bank says.

Under the new banking law, each closed bank must select an administrator to audit the bank’s assets and liabilities, and another agency must be ap­pointed to liquidate as­sets, collect loans and pay back depositors.

Since the closure announcement on Dec 8, many depositors at the affected banks panicked at the prospect of not getting their money back. More than 50 de­positors at the closed Agri­culture and Com­mercial Bank filed a complaint earlier this week with the central bank to ensure their money would be paid within 20 days. They had first tried and failed to meet Agriculture and Com­mercial Bank man­agement.

Without selecting their own administrators, audits at the closed banks will be done by an appointee from central bank.

“We will appoint an administrator soon, but first we need to meet with the auditors [whom the central bank has asked to provide administrators],” the official said.

The central bank’s officials have said they have invited four in­ter­­national audit agencies to take control of the closing banks. But none of the four have resp­onded yet, the senior official said. Some auditors are not willing to deal with angry depositors, he said.

But Senaka Fer­nan­do, manager of Price­WaterhouseCoopers, said Wednesday eve­ning that his audit agency informed the cen­tral bank of its interest in the afternoon.

“We’ve proposed to be an administrator for three banks of the 11 closed,” Fernando said, adding the three are those that decided to cease operation voluntarily. “I think [liquidation] will be quite easy for those three banks.”

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