Although some account holders of the Cuenca financial cooperative Coopera can begin withdrawing funds this week, there is new uncertainty about the repayment schedule and repayment amounts for accounts of more thant $10,000.
Coopera, or Coopertiva de Ahorro y Credito, as it is formally known, was shut down by the government June 12 on suspicion of money laundering and mismanagement.
The general manager, chief financial officer and auditor were arrested.
Beginning tomorrow and continuing through July, small account holders can withdraw funds at JEP, Jardín Azuayo, ERCO and Santa Rosa, the area cooperatives who have been assigned Coopera accounts by SEPS. Account holders will be assigned dates when they can withdraw funds, based on the last digit of their cedula or passport numbers. For full information, go to www.seps.gob.ec or www.coopera.fin.ec.
SEPS said that account holders are also free to keep their accounts with the new cooperatives.
For accounts of $10,000 or more, SEPS said it was unable to give dates when withdrawals can be made. It also refused to say that all funds would be returned dispite earlier assurances to the contrary.
SEPS superintendent Cristian Cruz said that the disposition of larger accounts will be delayed until all Coopera accounts are reviewed. “We have a team of auditors looking over the portfolio and, depending on those results, we will begin repaying accounts.” He indicated that the final accounting will depend not only on cash on hand, but on collections of coutstanding debts and unpaid debts owed by Coopera. “The payouts will be made gradually, depending of the funds available.”
Cruz cautioned account holders not to go to Coopera headquarters in San Joaquin or other financial offices. “These are closed. Go to the websites to find out where your account has been reassigned.”
A spokesman for SEPS also warned account holders not to rely on unauthorized sources for information. “We hear that there are attorneys telling people that they can facilitate the return of money. If they are not employees of SEPS, they have no control over this. Only pay attention to official SEPS information.”
SEPS announced that it will hold a brief meeting Tuesday, July 2 at 10 a.m. for large account holders at the San Joaquin office. “We will answer the questions that we can,” said the spokesman.
There are more than 100,000 Coopera account holders, most of them living in Azuay, Guayas and El Oro Provinces.