Mon, May 15, 2000 - Page 17 News List

Troubled bank gets taken over

INTERVENTION The Ministry of Finance says the Taiwan Development and Trust Corporation has good fundamentals and that it only moved in because of disputes among the board members


The Ministry of Finance (財政部) took control of the Taiwan Development and Trust Corpora-tion (TDTC, 台開) and suspended its board of directors on Saturday after depositors -- worried that a dispute between the bank's government-appointed directors and private directors could affect the bank's performance -- rushed to withdraw funds from the bank.

A seven person management team from the Central Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC, 中央存保), headed by Wang Nan-hua (王南華), vice president of the CDIC, was put in charge of the bank for the next six months.

On Friday, depositors withdrew about NT$1.2 billion from the TDTC, a financial company whose businesses include trust, lending and real estate development. The bank was unprepared for the run, and some branches ran out of cash later in the afternoon. Angry depositors waited at the Taipei branch on Friday until midnight for the bank to transfer cash from other branches.

After a four hour meeting on Saturday morning attended by both outgoing Finance Minister Paul Chiu (邱正雄) and Finance Minister-designate Shea Jia-dong (許嘉棟), the finance ministry announced its decision to take over the bank.

The ministry denied that there was any wrongdoing by the bank, and said the objective of the takeover was to resolve disputes within the board of directors.

The new management team further pledged to speed up sales of completed real estate developments owned by the bank, to ensure solvency in case of further bank runs.

The trust, previously a state-managed financial institution under the control of the Provincial Government, was recently privatized. Private shareholders, including three affiliated with the Era Group (年代集團), took four of the trust's nine seats on the board of directors last June.

The dispute within the board of directors is centered around a NT$1.8 billion land deal with Far Eastern Silo & Shipping (遠倉) in Yangmei, Taoyuan county.

The government-appointed directors are worried that the company inflated the price of land for sale to the bank, and are demanding an investigation into the deal.

Private directors complain that the bank inflates its earnings, and also claim that the bank is covering up overdue loans.

Kao Chien-wen (高建文), one of the TDTC's directors suspended on Saturday, said in an interview with the Commercial Times that the finance ministry's decision to take over the bank is a calculated move to prevent private directors and shareholders from obtaining allegedly damning information about the bank.

Finance Minister Paul Chiu yesterday denied the claims, and said that the institution's fundamentals are good, and the overdue loan ratio at the bank is low.

Wang Hua-nan yesterday said that bank has NT$5 billion in cash on hand for withdrawals, and will be ready for all contingencies today. The Central Bank (央行) yesterday also announced it would extend NT$3 billion in cash to the bank.

The company's shares closed at NT$6.75 on Friday, and has fallen 83 percent in the past twelve months.

The TDTC is the second financial institution to be taken over by the finance ministry in the past month. The CDIC was given control of the Chung Shing Bank (中興銀行) last month amid charges of corruption and illegal corporate loans.

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