Depositors of Defunct Bank of Commerce Encouraged to Make Claim

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 08, 2016 (SKNIS): A strong call is being made for depositors, descendants and heirs of depositors of the defunct Bank of Commerce to come in and collect their cheques from the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Ltd. which is the agent responsible for the distribution of cheques on behalf of the liquidator Walter Simmonds.

Chief Retail Banking Officer of National Bank, Donald Thompson, said that the cheques were prepared and available.

“We have cheques that are small amounts and we have very large cheques, but whatever the amount is, I encourage people to come and collect,” Mr. Thompson said. “It’s their money rightfully and whether it’s $25 or $25,000, I just want to encourage everybody to come and collect the cheque.”

Mr. Thompson further revealed that the cheques are being distributed at the main branch of National Bank on Central Street between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. He said distribution commenced on December 28, 2015, and the current stock of cheques is valid for a year. At the end of the year, if all have not been collected the funds will return to the liquidator and then claimants will then have to go directly to Mr. Simmonds, the principal of Simmonds and Associates to make a claim.

It was noted that persons have already claimed cheques.

“We have had a steady flow of persons,” Mr. Thompson said, noting that on an average day there are 40 to 45 claimants. “Today would have been about the eighth day, so I would guess that we have between 320 to 350 persons who have collected cheques already. Now, I must say also that we have seen many, many more persons who have come to inquire with their name or their parent or their grandparent’s name but they do not have the necessary documentation. So we have given out about 350 cheques.” He went on to explain that 4,703 cheques were prepared meaning that more than 4,000 cheques are awaiting collection.

Persons desirous of claiming cheques can go into the main branch of National Bank on Central Street, report their business to the security guard at the entrance who will then direct them to the appropriate waiting room on the second floor of the building.

Depositors collecting on their own behalf, can go to the National Bank and present two pieces of government issued photo identification (IDs) and once the bank can ascertain that is the rightful owner of the account, then funds will be given in the form of a cheque. Mr. Thompson said that it was not necessary for depositors to bring in the passbook.

Depositors living abroad wishing someone residing locally to collect their cheque will have to send a notarized letter to the liquidator naming the person who will collect on their behalf and attach notarized copies of two photo IDs. The person named in the notarized letter will then have to show two government issued photo IDs in order to collect the cheque.

The claimants of persons who are deceased have to be legitimate.

“In the case of a deceased person, what is required is that the bank has to be sure that we are paying the cheque over to the person who is the rightful claimant, like the heir of somebody who the deceased person would have named,” Mr. Thompson said, noting that if the deceased person had a will, then that will must be probated and it must identify who would be the trustee or the executor of the estate of the deceased person. Such a person would then be allowed to collect the cheque on behalf of the deceased person, once the appropriate government issued photo IDs are produced. It was explained that if there was no will, then the next of kin or heir would have to apply to the court for letters of administration. Letters of administration would also identify who is the authorized person to collect on behalf of the deceased person.

While information pertaining to personal accounts will not be given via telephone, further information can be obtained by calling the liquidator, Walter Simmonds at 465-2832 or National Bank at 465-2204.

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