Protesting depositors who can’t withdraw their savings for months now have been met with military tanks in front of the Bank of China in Henan province. This is in anticipation of a possible uproar after the subunit of the state’s central bank announced that deposits are now considered “investment products” and cannot be withdrawn further.
The protest gathered steam coming from around 1,000 depositors who gathered before the Zhengzhou, Henan branch of China’s central bank earlier this month, demanding access to their respective accounts that were “frozen since April 2022.” The protesters were then violently dispersed by unidentified “security” personnel.
In April 2022, Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank, Shangcai Huimin County Bank, Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank and New Oriental Country Bank of Kaifeng in Henan province, and Guzhen Xinhuaihe Village Bank in the Anhui province all froze deposit accounts due to internal system upgrades.
According to Chinese media, the frozen deposits could be worth up to US$1.5 billion.
China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said that “a criminal gang led by the criminal suspect Lu Yi has used the Henan Xincaifu Group” to control the five rural banks through “cross-shareholding, increasing capital and shares, and manipulating bank executives.”
Depositors in Henan were promised that they will get their money back in batches, with the first tranche scheduled on July 15 for deposits below 50,000 yuan. However, media reports say that only a handful received payment.
Soon, tanks from the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army were seen rolling into the streets fronting the state bank’s branch after Bank of China in Henan said that the savings are now “investment products.”
This comes after the CBIRC promised that more depositors will be repaid from July 25 for deposits up to 100,000 yuan.
Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg and South China Morning Post. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.