Capital Bank closed, shares off RSE

  • 1998-09-03
  • Sandra L. Medearis
RIGA - Major banks say they have dodged the falling ruble and taken no mortal hits, but insolvency closed Capital Bank of Latvia on Aug. 27. On Aug. 28, Capital Bank transferred private deposits to Latvian Savings Bank.

The bank claimed officially to have 20 percent of its assets invested in Russia, but an employee who showed ID but asked not to be named said that the figure is closer to 40 percent.

The Latvian Stock Market Board suspended Capital Bank's license to deal in securities on the Riga Stock Exchange (RSE) Aug. 28. That action was followed by the bank's suspension from the Latvian Central Depository of Securities. Capital Bank can finish stock transactions started before Aug. 28.

In the evening of Aug. 27, customers who found the revolving doors of Capital's currency exchange office locked, checked their watches and tried the door again. The monitor of the ATM screen read, "Sorry, temporarily out of order." An electronic sign board in the window showed all currency buy and sell exchange rates at zero.

Irja Sandberg, a customer who walked up to the locked door on Aug. 27 was disappointed to find the bank closed and hoped that it would open again.

"I like to come to this bank to change money because they don't charge a fee," Sandberg said.

The employee said he felt the banks doors would reopen whether under the Capital banner or new ownership. The bank employs about 100 people.

"Good bank employees are in demand. We receive employment offers from other banks," the Capital Bank employee said.

The Bank of Latvia is working with Capital Bank to devise a new plan of operations, Capital Bank's spokeswoman Juliya Gulbe told the Baltic News Service Aug. 27.