After 2.5 Months Choice Bank Allows Withdrawals
Tonight, depositors at Choice Bank can breathe a little easier - because after more than two months where their money was on lockdown, - the bank today announced that it is emerging from its "constrained liquidity" - and the good news is that depositors should be able to get back their money by the end of the year.
A release says that as of Monday, all depositors will be able to withdraw up to $25,000 US dollars from their accounts. And then, later in July, they will be able to withdraw up to $75,000 US dollars. By the end of August, that will go up to $100,000 US. The release adds, quote, "by the end of the year, all those depositors are projected to have full access to 100% of their funds should they wish to close their accounts."
It's an orderly transition, staged to avoid a run on the bank after months of uncertainty where one account holder went to court alleging that the bank intended to stiff its depositors by winding up operations.
In its release today Choice said that's not so. It says, quote, "Choice…has made significant progress over the last 60 days in monetizing its assets and is confident that, it will continue to make significant headway in further liquidating its remaining illiquid assets and paying out depositors."
But, that's not the end of the story - the Bank still threw in a little dig against its regulator, the Central Bank of Belize. Choice says it had developed a quicker solution which it presented to the Central Bank in mid June. That would have allowed all depositors to withdraw up to $100,000 US by tomorrow, and the entirety of the balance of their funds by the end of September.
But, Choice says, quote, "delays in the regulatory approval process led to a reduced access to liquidity for Choice….Choice's Board and management have nonetheless decided, to seek to implement a more conservative plan…Choice…is confident that it will be successful in liquidating its remaining assets in such a way as to return all funds to all depositors by year's end." End quote.
We should note that Choice is not a traditional commercial bank in Belize, it is an offshore bank.