Wednesday, December 15, 2010

PDIC Takes Over Pasig-based Rural Bank


Image from Philstar Online. Happier days for FCB

Finally, here's the official public confirmation--five days after the fact.

"First Country Bank, a microfinance bank founded by a former education official, was padlocked by banking regulators due to insolvency (when firms owe more than they own) and recently taken over by the state-owned Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (Friday, December 10, to be exact)" Comments in parentheses are mine.

The article further makes the following observation:

"Other banking sources said that prior to the bank’s collapse, it was aggressively trying to boost liquidity by offering hefty interest rates.

Based on the bank’s website, for instance, First Country was offering a 10-percent annual interest rate for time deposits held for at least a year. This was despite the fact that benchmark 25-year bond yields have fallen below 10 percent a year. The website was also emphatic in pointing out that it was operating under the authority of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and had even placed the BSP logo right beside the contact person for those wishing to place money in its savings, time deposits and investment products."

Now that sounds like a very insightful comment; unfortunately it's one based on perfect hindsight and is thus utterly useless to investors who had already been duped by the bank. This insight would have been more helpful had it been published before the collapse, and not after.

Let's hope mainstream media follows up the story and and bears more of the burden of protecting innocent and misinformed investors. Yeah, right now that's pretty much all we can do: hope.
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