Nearly 1 million Chinese bank customers have not been able to access their deposits for more than a month, according to Chinese media reports. While the Chinese bank regulator claimed that its investigation found illegal wealth collecting activities involving a major shareholder and a third party platform, customers believe the regulator failed to safeguard people’s interests in the first place.
On April 18, customers of four rural banks in Henan province found that their accounts were restricted when they tried to make a regular withdrawal. On the 18th and 19th, the relevant banks issued notices of system upgrading and maintenance, and suspension of internet banking and mobile banking services.
The local government responded on April 25 stating that the banking system was being upgraded to prevent illegal activities. The Chinese Central Bank also issued a statement of investigation.
Two local depositors told the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times that it’s been more than 30 days and many people still cannot access their retirement funds or regular funds. They denied the official’s claim of investment fraud and said they are ordinary civilians who keep their savings in the banks.
Local resident Mr. Cheng said that he opened an installment savings account in person in the local bank, which required him to deposit a small sum of money every week. The interest rate was higher than the major banks were paying, and “it’s based on the interest rate of a national standard,” Cheng said.
He said the banks promoted installment savings accounts online, and many people from outside the province also opened accounts online.
“To us, a bank is like the state, you should feel safe with it. How can there be any issue with your savings? My bank card shows a record of regular interest payments, but I can’t withdraw [any money],” Cheng said.
Ms. He joined the installment savings online via a third-party platform three years ago, and she’s been withdrawing principal and interest on a fixed term. But the withdrawal was restricted on April 18.
She said, “It’s my personal savings account, but now I have become an illegal investor, and I can’t access my account.”