(Trinidad Express) – Despite some initial panic about the state of their investments, both big and small depositors of the failed CLICO Investment Bank had their claims processed by state owned bank, First Citizens, at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, on Thursday.
Both depositors and Dexter Charles, manager of Group Corporate Communications at First Citizens agreed that the process was virtually glitch-free.
When the Express contacted two CIB customers on Thursday, (a retired couple from Diego Martin) they said they were pleased with the fact that First Citizens was handling their claims now as they felt that the traditional banking sector was better regulated than investment banks and therefore their deposits were now safe, once and for all.
The transfer process which First Citizens is facilitating began on Wednesday and will continue until the first week in April, with breaks in between to cater to events which will be held at the Oval where First Citizens has set up a temporary facility to deal with CIB transfers, explained Charles.
Those citizens with matured deposits can now either take cheques for the sum of their investment or re-invest with First Citizens. Those who have accounts which are yet to mature will have to sign an agreement to have their CIB deposits changed to First Citizens investments.
Charles told the Express, “More people responded [on Thursday]. Close to 200 people showed up. Those with deposits which will mature by the end of February came out,” said Charles. National bank, First Citizens, has taken over all the assets and liabilities of cash strapped CIB which is a subsidiary of the CL Financial conglomerate.
First Citizens CEO, Larry Howai, had assured depositors that their money was safe from the first day the government intervened (last month) to bail the conglomerate out. It was on that day that CIB’s responsibilities were transferred to his bank. Despite his public assurances many people still expressed concern about their “hard earned dollars” and where they would end up.
Overall Charles said there are now four to five thousand CIB customers who must have their voided CIB certificates replaced by that of First Citizens.
The communications officer further stated that while some customers whose deposits are at present matured or will soon mature are being handled now, those who have CIB certificates with maturation dates for later this year up to 2011 will be facilitated next month.