Question Mark Hangs Over Online Bank

Question Mark Hangs Over Online Bank

September 8, 2009.

Launched late last year with massive publicity and plenty of commercial hype, the online banking operation Ivobank - owned by the Indonesian billionaire Sampoerna family - appeared to be going from strength to strength with a list of gilt-edged online gambling clients that included some of the top companies in the business.

It came as something as a shock, therefore to learn this week that the bank is apparently turning away new business without a clear explanation for its motives or its future, now the subject of intense speculation.

The bank's advisory that new business was being turned away was accompanied by a statement almost guaranteed to fuel speculation: "...further information will be made available to retail customers, suppliers, merchants and the media" as "future strategic aims are developed". And that rather obtuse and unrevealing comment was exacerbated when company spokesmen refused to elaborate further.

One comforting thought for depositors is that Ivobank has assured that all customer account balances remain safe, with no restrictions on withdrawals or transfers.

This is one of those situations where a more detailed explanation would benefit the bank as well as its clients and merchants, if only to allay justifiable fears regarding Ivobank's future development.

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