VIP Bank Closes Before Ever Doing Any Banking Business

VIP Bank on Monivong Boul­evard is shutting its doors before ever offering a loan or taking a deposit, bank and government officials said Tuesday, though an independent audit must first be conducted to determine if the Singaporean-owned bank is in the red.

National Bank of Cambodia Director General Tal Nai Im said Tuesday by telephone that VIP Bank’s commercial banking license was canceled in Nov­ember when the bank volunt­eered to liquidate itself.

“It’s not because of the financial crisis,” she said, declining to provide a reason for the idle bank’s closure or the name of its Sing­a­por­ean owner.

The bank opened at the beginning of 2008, she said, but never issued any loans or received any deposits at its headquarters at 797 Monivong Boulevard.

Before the bank can liquidize, Tal Nai Im said an independent audit will be conducted by Mor­rison Kak & Associes to determine if the bank owes any outstanding rent, utility costs or other fees.

“We do not know if VIP Bank is in debt or not,” she said.

Sheik Rajena, who identified herself as regional director of the Singaporean business group that opened VIP Bank, declined to reveal the name of the group, but said it also owns City Mart inside Sorya shopping mall.

The Singaporean board of directors “intended to open the bank. Then they decided to close it. We didn’t have any capital profile,” Sheik Rajena said by telephone Tuesday, adding that she did not know why VIP Bank is closing.

Kak Key, managing partner of auditor Morrison Kak & Associes, said his firm was appointed by the National Bank of Cambodia in early December to conduct an audit of VIP Bank.

“As far as I know, this is a voluntary liquidization by the shareholders of the bank,” he said by telephone.

The audit will begin Jan 5 and conclude by March if there are no irregularities, Kak Key said. The auditors will review all payables and receivables and publicize the bank’s closure in local newspapers.

“When everything’s done, we give a report to the National Bank that says everything is okay. And they erase VIP from their list of commercial banks,” he said.

VIP Bank’s liquidization is not a sign of turmoil within Cambodian financial industry, said Acleda Bank President and Chief Executive Officer In Channy.

“It’s closure is not connected to other banks,” he said by telephone Tuesday.

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