Government details second phase of Coopera payouts; the elderly, sick and handicapped will be paid first

Aug 6, 2013

Details of the second phase of payouts to Coopera depositors were annouced yesterday by the government. Coopera was shut down June 12 after its top officials
were arrested for alleged money laundering and embezzlement.

According to the Superintendency of Popular and Solidarity Economy, or SEPS, account holders with less than $30,000 invested can withdraw funds from August 12 to August 16. Account holders 65 and older with deposits of up to $40,000 will also be reimbursed. In addition, account holders with diabilities and chronic illnesses can withdraw up to $30,000, regardless of the amount of money in their accounts.

Coopera depositors attempt to withdraw money in June.

Coopera depositors attempt to withdraw money in June.

Those with chronic illnesses and disabilities must register at the Coopera office in San Joaquin and submit a recent doctor’s certifícate describing their illness or present their Ministry of Health card verifying their disability.

Payouts will be made by JEP, Azuayo, ERCO and Santa Rosa, the cooperatives assigned Coopera accounts by SEPS.

The schedule for payouts is determined by the final digit of account numbers: digits 1 and 2, will be paid Monday, August 12; 3 and 4, Tuesday, August 13; digits 5 and 6, Wednesday, August 14; digits 7 and 8, Thursday, August 15; and digits 9 and 0, Friday, August 16.

SEPS repeated its intention to repay 99% of all Coopera account holders during the liquidation process. According to SEPS spokesman Christian Cruz, 98.3% of account holders have already reclaimed their money or have decided to leave it in accounts with other cooperatives. The payouts that begin August 12, according to Cruz, are part of the 0.7% of accounts to reach the 99% goal. SEPS has not said what it will do if funds remain after 99% of accounts have been repaid.

Attorneys for depositors with accounts of more than $10,000 continue to contest the government’s liquidation plan, including the forumla for paying back account holders. In recent weeks they have met with Cuenca mayor Paul Granda and Azuay governor Humberto Cordero. Yesterday, they met with Judicial Council representative Gustavo Jalkh and Rosana Alvarado, vice president of the National Assembly.

Efforts to meet with President Rafael Correa have, so far, been unsuccessful. Correa’s office had earlier issued a statement supporting the work of SEPS.

For information about the return of funds, depositors can call 417 7329, ext 7301.

Photo caption: Depositors gather outside a Coopera office following the June closure of the financial cooperative; photo credit: El Tiempo

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