Depositors To Protest Over Bank Closures Commercial Bank’s Closure

Several dozen Agriculture and Commercial Bank customers said they will file a complaint today with the National Bank of Cam­bodia over the sudden clos­ure of their bank.

The complaint, filed by a dep­ositors’ rights protection committee, will accuse the National Bank of being irresponsible for not informing depositors of the closure in advance. The committee was formed by depositors.

“The central bank didn’t inform the public that the [bank] hadn’t been healthy before they closed,” said Seng Phally, executive director for the Cambodia Labor Org­anization and chairman of the committee. “The National Bank is secretive….The National Bank has to pay our money back.”

About 60 angry depositors, including community leaders, NGO representatives and business people, gathered Saturday to discuss ways of recovering their money. Participants said they have attempted to contact bank management but failed.

Many blamed the National Bank for causing a panic.

“The central bank is the one that should know whether commercial banks have enough capitals or not because the central bank takes charge in opening and closing a commercial bank,” said one committee member, who asked not to be named. “If the Agriculture and Commercial Bank will not pay the money back, it will be the responsibility of the National Bank.”

The Agriculture and Com­mercial Bank is one of 11 banks closed by the National Bank this month after it failed to meet regulations set by the new Banking Law, which requires all banks to increase their minimum capital from $5 million to $13 million.

The Agriculture and Com­mercial Bank is said to have more clients than other closed banks because it accepted dep­osits in riel as well as US dollars.

Seng Phally said the closure may affect more than 1,000 dep­ositors. A preliminary survey by the committee found that about $3 million was deposited in the bank by the 60 depositors who attended Saturday’s meeting.

Agriculture and Commercial Bank officials could not be reached for comment.

A clerk at the bank said Sun­day that the staff has not seen the general manager for at least a week. None of the staff were officially informed of the bank’s closure, the clerk said.

“We are not sure when the general manager will come to the bank,” the clerk said, adding that the bank employees are also worried about their futures.




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