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Burma's Central Bank Bails Out Major Financial Institutions - 2003-02-22


Western news reports say Burma's central bank has moved to bail out out three major financial institutions with loans of more than four billion dollars (25 billion kyat), in a bid to halt a national banking crisis.

Bank officials and consultants are quoted Friday as saying more loans are expected, if the commercial banks can put up the necessary collateral.

Burma has suffered a bank run by depositors in recent weeks after rumors circulated that its 20 private financial institutions were on the verge of bankruptcy.

Analysts say the run on deposits began when 14 financial services companies stopped paying investors about three weeks ago. Some reports say the groups were operating outside of government regulations and offering returns of about 60 percent a year.

Earlier this week, the central bank banned money transfers and limited bank withdrawals.

Western diplomats in Rangoon have reported long lines of people outside banks this week, as panicked customers sought to withdraw their savings. Banks closed their doors early to stem the outflow of funds.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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