Four bidders for Stanford Bank
PANAMA. The fate of Stanford Bank in Panama is going to be decided today at 5:00 p. m. when four different groups will be bidding to b...
PANAMA. The fate of Stanford Bank in Panama is going to be decided today at 5:00 p. m. when four different groups will be bidding to buy the troubled financial institution.
Consortiums from Venezuela, Colombia, the United States and Panama have approached the Panama’s Banking Superintendent with their proposals to take over the scandal ridden bank.
Stanford Bank has been in administration since February, when US regulators filed fraud charges against Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford, who was the majority shareholder.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Stanford and two other group executives of fraudulently selling $8 billion in high-yield deposit certificates (CDs).
The scheme stretched around the world.
The SEC complaint named Stanford International Bank, based in Antigua, as well as broker-dealer and investment adviser units based in Houston, >Texas
The administrator of Stanford Bank in Panama, Jaime de Gamboa Velez said the bank’s sale has to be approved by the Bank Superintendent and the administrator assigned to the American bank in the United States.
The Bank Superintendent will not only analyze the financial situation of the bidders but also their moral standing, said De Gamboa Velez.
Each candidate will also have to fulfill the prerequisites of the Bank Superintendent and will have to present a plan about how it is planning to manage the bank.
De Gamboa Velez said thatt on Friday May 29 at the latest, a decision will be made on who will take over Stanford Bank.
In the event that the Bank Superintendent rejects the four applicants, there is an alternative plan that basically will return the money to the depositors.
Currently all the accounts have been frozen to avoid Stanford Bank going into bankruptcy, by protecting its capital.
Clients of the ailing bank have contacted the Panama Star saying the closures of the branches have caused them a lot of problems.
Some companies have been unable to meet their payrolls and have had to resort to borrowing money from other financial institutions to avoid closing their businesses.
The Bank Superintendent put Stanford Bank in administration on February 19, after frightened depositors starting withdrawing all their money when they first heard the news of a possible fraud.
On March 3, Ramon Martinez Stagg, CEO of Stanford Bank Panama gave the following explanation to the daily La Prensa : "We have been prey to this collective panic that has caused international news, but it has nothing to do with the soundness of the bank or to the safety of our customers' deposits, which are well covered with highly liquid investments that can quickly convert to cash.
“Therefore, we thought it more responsible for the Superintendent to take administrative control of the Bank to manage an orderly process of withdrawal, and to efficiently manage the bank's assets."
The Bank Superintendent received an offer from an unknown buyer on April 18, but the negotiations fell through.
Panama's banking oversight agency did not give the name or source of the bid.
The bank watchdog said that it will give itself sixty days to find a buyer and this time has received four offers.
Stanford Bank (Panama) SA, began operations in the country in August 2003, has three branches and 66 employees. Currently it is operating with an skeleton staff to reduce costs and preserve the capital. The bank is still receiving money from loans.
In addition to the Panamanian and Venezuelan banks, Stanford Financial Group operates affiliated banks, brokerages and other companies in Colombia, Mexico and other Latin American countries.