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Deposits returned, layoffs made at ACB

Deposits returned, layoffs made at ACB

ANGKOR Capital Bank has returned nearly all deposits from its 990 customers after transforming its business from a commercial to a specialised bank at the beginning of the year, associate Robert Jamar said yesterday.

Angkor Capital’s board of directors determined in August that it was in the shareholders’ best interest to reclassify it as a specialised bank beginning in 2011.

This meant it was not required to meet a National Bank of Cambodia move to triple minimum capital for the Kingdom’s banks, according to statement from Angkor Capital Bank.

“The move allows us to focus on our core competencies of lending and loan syndication, and avoid the costly business of trying to attract depositors in Cambodia’s highly-competitive commercial banking sector,” Chairman John K Baldwin stated in a press release yesterday.

The bank also freed up cash for investments that would otherwise have gone to meeting the NBC’s requirement, he claimed.

In 2008, the National Bank of Cambodia issued a prakas requiring commercial banks to triple minimum capital of at least one hundred fifty billion riel (US$37 million) by the end of 2010 unless at “least one influential shareholder [is] a bank or financial institution" with a rating “investment grade,” according to an unofficial translation.

ACB first opened as a full-service commercial bank in October 2008.

It is independent, but supported by investors and advisory services from Bridge Capital LLC.

Robert Jamar wrote that the process of returning deposits involved personalised phone calls or visits to depositors to explain that the transition to a specialised bank would preclude Angkor Capital from holding deposits.

“To date all deposits have been returned, saved for a handful that had specialised terms,” such as being pledged as collateral, he said.

The move had necessitated some layoffs – claiming there was no need for tellers without deposits, for example – but Jamar said experienced bankers tellers would be able to find work in the Kingdom's comptetative sector.

He added he was unsure if other banks had similarly reclassified, but said “to the best of my knowledge we're the only bank to publicly announce our strategy.”

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