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Monday May 4, 2009

StanChart branch closes in Kuala Terengganu

KUALA TERENGGANU: For half a century, the Standard Chartered Bank branch in Jalan Sultan Ismail here has been held in high regard by its account holders.

On April 29, this foreign bank shut down its operations due to high overheads.

Last days: A customer walking out of the branch in Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Terengganu recently.

Many locals who grew up visiting the bank as depositors had nostalgic memories of the bank’s campaign to promote the Disney character Donald Duck to encourage children to take up the saving habit.

The Donald Duck coin boxes was a standard promotion item given in the early 70s at the bank, the second-oldest here.

As many as 20 account holders turned up to close their accounts after the bank issued notices of its closure.

Account holder Jamal Mohamad, 41, was in a sombre mood when he went to Jalan Sultan Ismail to close his account.

“My late father brought me to the bank as young boy and told me to save RM5 monthly in the Donald Duck coin box. I have been doing so for the past three decades. I am upset to realise that the bank is not going to be here,” he said.

All the transactions of the branch that opened in the late 50s will be transferred to the Kuantan branch.

However, clients can still service their accounts through the MEPS facility and Internet banking.

Account holders are not charged RM1 for each transaction due its status as a foreign bank.

A bank spokesman said that one of the branch’s seven staff members had opted to serve at the Kuantan branch while six others went for Voluntary Separation Scheme.

Kuala Terengganu MP Abdul Wahid Endut said he was surprised to learn about the closure.

He said the relocation was due to the lukewarm response from locals and the high operation costs.

Former Standard Chartered bank officer M. Ramakrishnan, 74, who served at the branch from 1976 to 1990, said the branch had brought many businessmen here by being flexible in providing loans.

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