Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Kanbawza Bank denies impending closure

By Nem Davies

29 July 2008, New Delhi (Mizzima)— Burma's privately owned Kanbawza Bank on Tuesday denied rumours that the bank is closing down in the wake of panic withdrawals.

An official at the Bank's head office in Kamayut Township in Rangoon told Mizzima on Tuesday that the bank is functioning normally and that it has no plans to close down.

"Whatever you heard are rumours. Everything is fine here including the President and the Vice President. There has been no interrogation either and we have no plans to close down," the official said.

An official at the Kanbawza's branch office in Kamayut Township also said while there had been a come down in the amount of deposits to the bank about two weeks ago, the situation has normalised and customers can now deposit as much as they like.

The official's clarification comes at a time when rumours are doing the rounds in Rangoon that the Managing Director Zaw Win Naing, an adopted son of Kanbawza Bank's owner Aung Ko Win, has been arrested by authorities and is currently being interrogated.

"About two weeks ago, we limited the amount of deposit to three million Kyats according to the central bank's order but now things are normal and customers are free to deposit or withdraw as much as they want to. The transactions are normal in the bank," the official at the Kamayut branch office said.

A Rangoon based businesswoman, who regularly has financial transactions with the Kanbawza Bank in Bayintnaung Township told Mizzima that though sometimes there are problems in transferring money to other parts of the country, so far there has been no major problem with the bank.

"For example sometimes when we transfer about five million kyat to Taung Gyi branch and if the branch does not have that much money they refuse to accept it. But if the amount is lesser and if the branch has the money usually there is no problem," Thida, the businesswoman told Mizzima.

Though she denied rumors of the bank's imminent closure, she said banks in Burma have limited capacity and cannot be totally trusted.

"I go to the bank almost every day and it is not closed yet. But in the long run we cannot trust any bank in Burma. There is no bank that can be trusted," she said, saying that there is no proper financial policy that can guarantee the security of banks.

Meanwhile, an editor at a Rangoon-based Weekly Journal said he had heard of the rumors about the arrest of Kanbawza's Managing Director and the interrogation. But he failed to confirm the information.

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