Former Pramuka Bank now opening in January
The Sri Lanka Savings Bank (SLSB), formerly the failed Pramuka Bank, in a fourth attempt to open its doors to the public, now says public transactions will commence from January 2008.
The new bank has made several official announcements in the past about the opening but has not been able to keep to its promise, disappointing depositors, many of whom are elderly.
The bank is opening under a Central Bank-approved scheme of accepting time and savings deposits from the public and investing such funds in government securities.
Bank Chairman Ariyathilake Dahanayake told The SundayTimes FT this week at the bank office at Borella that although the bank was not officially opened for business transactions Pramuka depositors and creditors (about one to two per day) were visiting the bank to check on deposits and other claims. However he added that the auditing of all transactions of Pramuka which started three weeks ago is still in progress at the Central Bank and the SLSB is still not in a position to carry out its functions fully till this is completed. He said they would be ready to open for business in January. At the bank premises, the installation of computers and other equipment was underway. SLSB CEO S. Weeratunge said they have sent letters to all depositors and creditors to make their claims on liabilities within six months commencing from December 3.
Around 25 new officers have been recruited and most of them are undergoing in-house training with another batch of 10 being hired.
Weeratunga said the delay in opening the bank was due to issues beyond their control such as pending court cases filed by Pramuka Bank depositors.
A spokesman for the Pramuka Bank Depositors Association said however that they were unhappy with the conditions of settlement. “In recent discussions with the government, depositors were assured that their deposits are safe.
However the new terms announced by the Central Bank in a newspaper advertisement on December 3 states that settlement of liabilities would be limited to availability of liquid assets and the recovery of non-performing assets of the failed bank,” he said adding that these terms are unacceptable.