CLAIMS of depositors of the closed AMA Rural Bank of Mandaluyong, Inc. will be delayed as the bank refuses to turn over its records to the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC).

Last week, PDIC took over the liquidation of AMA Rural Bank of Mandaluyong after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) ordered the bank’s closure on Nov. 7.

The payment of insured deposits, which was initially scheduled around Nov. 22-29, will be delayed unless the bank’s employees comply, PDIC Executive Vice Pressident of Receivership and Liquidation Sector Ma. Ana Carmela L. Villegas said.

“Since then, the bank employees refused to account for and turn over to the PDIC the records under their individual accountabilities. Without these records, the PDIC will be unable to immediately pay the claims of depositors for insured deposits,” Ms. Villegas told reporters during a press conference in Makati City on Friday.

She said demand letters were issued to employees on Friday and they were given 24 hours upon receipt to comply.

She added that under Republic Act. No. 3591 or the PDIC Charter, refusal to turn over or destroying or tampering bank records are considered as criminal acts and are punishable with imprisonment.

PDIC Senior Vice President of the Deposit Insurance Sector Romeo M. Mendoza Jr. said since they are dealing with public’s money, the bank’s cooperation is very important to ensure they will pay the correct amount to right account holders.

In a statement sent days after their closure, AMA Rural Bank of Mandaluyong said it will contest the BSP’s order as they are “fit to operate in every capacity” and will seek ways to resume full operations.

Citing available data, Ms. Villegas said the bank has 8,434 accounts as of end-June, with P1.4 billion worth of total deposits — P1.3 billion of which are insured.

“The PDIC will not hesitate to use the full force of the law to safeguard the interest of the depositing public,” she said.

She also assured that if the bank will not cooperate, the state deposit insurer will have “alternative methods” to restructure the records and determine the amount of claims needed but it will take time to reconcile.

Depositors with valid deposits and claims shall be paid up to the maximum deposit insurance coverage of P500,000. — Beatrice M. Laforga