September 19, 2018 / 5:12 AM / in a month

UPDATE 1-Kazakh cenbank revokes Astana Banki licence, seeks liquidation

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ALMATY, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s central bank revoked Astana Banki’s (Bank of Astana) licence on Wednesday, saying it would seek Astana’s liquidation in court.

The central bank said in a statement it had appointed temporary management for Astana Banki, a relatively small lender, citing its failure to meet regulatory requirements and boost capital.

Wednesday’s action was the third such move by the Kazakh authorities this year.

Astana Banki had its retail deposit licences suspended earlier this year alongside Qazaq Banki and Eximbank Kazakhstan, two small lenders whose licences the central bank revoked last month.

Another lender, Tsesnabank, said this month it had taken out a short-term central bank loan to boost its liquidity.

The government and the central bank said at the time the state would buy about $1.2 billion in Tsesnabank’s loans to boost its financial strength and support borrowers in the agricultural sector.

The International Monetary Fund welcomed Kazakhstan’s moves to clean up the banking sector this week, but said the cleanup was far from complete.

“The banking sector continues to struggle with bad loans and weak risk management practices,” the Fund said in a report.

“A change in the sector’s business model is needed to strengthen governance, management, and operations.” (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kim Coghill and Eric Meijer)

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