ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s National Bank held a briefing on Feb. 18 to deny rumours of the alleged imminent bankruptcy of three second-tier banks.
Bank Chairman Kairat Kelimbetov issued an official statement at the briefing to mitigate concerns that had been swirling as a result of mobile text messages about the financial conditions of the banks.
“The National Bank confirms that this information is false, speculative and misleading and is targeted at destabilising the country’s banking system,” Kelimbetov said.
According to Kelimbetov, all Kazakhstan-based banks have sufficient funds both in the national and foreign currencies. And if necessary, the National Bank will provide appropriate liquidity support to banks.
Kelimbetov also noted that in accordance with the country’s legislation, the deposits of individuals in any currency are guaranteed by the state.
Following the wave of text messages that spread the misleading information indicating the imminent bankruptcy of Alliance, Center Credit and Kaspi, all three banks issued a joint statement in an effort to dissuade people from withdrawing money from their accounts. Withdrawing money they did, however, not in any way close enough to destabilising the banks or denting their positions.
Kelimbetov said the National Bank has already appealed to the appropriate law enforcement authorities to prevent and stop such provocative actions.
He also urged Kazakh citizens not to surrender to panic and to remain calm since all three banks are members of the State Deposit Insurance Fund, which fully covers by state guarantee deposits worth under $50,000.
The police have already started searching for the initiator of the text messages. Kaspi bank has even announced a 100 million tenge (roughly US$540,000) reward for any relevant information about the perpetrators of the hostile rumour.
Within days, the Office of the Prosecutor General announced that the authors of these rumours have been identified and detained, adding only that some of these people worked at a law firm and at a bank. The prosecutors have not divulged any further information.
The fate of the 100-million tenge award so far also remains up in the air.