Thai Bank Third to Downsize

The Bangkok Bank is downsizing its Phnom Penh branch, the third foreign bank operating in Phnom Penh to fall victim to the regional economic crisis.

Meanwhile, locally owned Pa­cific Commercial Bank had a second round of temporary layoffs Monday, affecting another 30 percent of the bank’s staff.

The Thai-owned Bangkok Bank plans to close all of its US dollar accounts by the end of the month and will cut its staff by 40 percent, branch manager Thewa­kun Chanakun said Monday.

Thewakun attributed the decision to the bank’s problems in Thailand, where the stock and currency crisis has left many companies unable to repay loans.

The Norodom Boulevard branch, established since June 1992, will lay off 10 local employees and will send back to Thai­land three expatriate staff members, he said.

The decision to close the US dollar accounts, which total more than 1,000, was made in Septem­ber, he said, but customers have been reluctant to remove funds.

The branch will remain open for the time being, he said, for repayment of loans. Loans that mature will not be extended be­cause of economic reasons in Thailand and Cambodia, he add­ed.

Thewakun said branches in Jakarta and Vientiane are similarly being downsized.

Several foreign and domestic banks have fallen on hard times. The Thai-owned Siam City Bank shut its doors Oct 1, the Cam­bodia Farmers Bank is closing and according to National Bank of Cambodia officials, Indonesia’s LippoBank is downsizing its branch.

Pacific Commercial Bank, owned by Cambodian businessman Kong Triv, laid off about 30 percent of its staff Monday, bringing the total of employees temporarily suspended by the bank to more than 100, a bank administrative officer said Tues­day.

The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, blamed the layoffs on sluggish business caused by the Asian economic crisis.

None of Pacific Commercial’s nine branches will be closed, he said, and staff will be rehired when the economy recovers.


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