KARACHI: The State Bank on Friday put six-month moratorium on KASB Bank, allowing only small depositors to withdraw their money.
The bank has been in trouble for more than a year as it failed to meet SBP’s criterion for capital adequacy ratio (ADR). However, the banking circle believes that the bank came under attack of a banking tycoon who wants to buy majority shares in the bank.
“In order to protect the interest of depositors and other stakeholders and due to financial health and other circumstances of KASB Bank Limited, (“the bank”), the federal government, on the application of the State Bank, has placed KASB Bank Ltd under moratorium for a period of six months effective Nov 14, 2014,” said the State Bank in a statement issued for the media.
Also read: KASB Bank books profit of Rs237m
Consequently, the payment of certain debts and obligations from the bank would be suspended while it would continue to receive all payments or recoveries due to the bank, said the SBP.
“The federal government has directed the State Bank to consider reconstruction or amalgamation of the bank as per the provisions of the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 within six months,” said the SBP.
“Payment to the depositors of the bank having account balance of up to Rs300,000 on the date of placing of the bank under moratorium will not be affected,” said the SBP.
In this manner, more than 92.33 per cent of total account holders will be able to operate their accounts, said the SBP. “The account holders with balance of more than Rs300,000 as of effective date, however, would be able to withdraw up to the above permitted threshold only.”
The State Bank said that the overall banking system is well capitalised and functioning smoothly. However, the KASB Bank Ltd consists of just 0.6pc of the total assets of all banks and the SBP will ensure a resolution of the same in the best interest of the depositors and the banking system, the statement added.
Banking sources said the name of a majority shareholder of the KASB Bank was placed on the Exit Control List few months ago. They added the State Bank was closely monitoring the operations of the bank. Banking sources said they were aware about the development as the bank was struggling hard to improve its balance sheet.
They said the KASB Bank also came under strict observation after it failed to justify a large deposit.
All attempts to get a response from the KASB Bank management on the government’s drastic decision proved futile.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2014