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By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 13) – The parties involved in the Bank of Saipan receivership have agreed that the bank is now financially sound and therefore the four-year-old receivership proceedings should be terminated.

Bank of Saipan Inc., BOS receiver Antonio S. Muna, and acting Department of Commerce Secretary and CNMI Director of Banking James Santos, through their respective counsels, signed a stipulation for the termination and dismissal of the receivership.

In the stipulation filed in Superior Court Thursday, the parties stated that BOS "is in sound financial condition and depositors in the bank are in no danger of being defrauded."

"BOS has agreed to adhere to the payment schedule set forth in the agreements with key government depositors and even to make its best efforts to accelerate such payments, consistent with its duties to all of its depositors and creditors," the parties said.

The bank has also agreed to continue to provide monthly reports to the Department of Commerce and the Banking Director.

These reports, the parties said, provide detailed financial information so that appropriate government officials can perform their statutory role with regard to the bank.

In April 2002, then Commerce Secretary Fermin M. Atalig shut down the bank, concluding that it was insufficiently liquid to continue to meet depositors' demands.

The bank was put into receivership and attorney Randall T. Fennell was appointed receiver. Fennell served as receiver from April 30, 2002, until his discharge on Sept. 27, 2002. Muna was then named the new receiver. Attorney S. Joshua Berger served as counsel for Muna.

The Bank of Saipan Inc. and Muna have made substantial progress in the rehabilitation of the bank pursuant to the rehabilitation plan approved by the Superior Court on Feb. 13, 2003.

The parties stipulated that the Bank of Saipan has now been rehabilitated by Muna and the bank's board and that the receivership should now be terminated in view of the financial soundness of the bank and the competency of the management to manage the affairs of the bank.

A joint motion to terminate the receivership proceedings is pending before the Superior Court. Muna has filed a final accounting in that proceeding on Oct. 13, 2005. No parties to the case oppose the termination.

"The parties believe that the further success of the bank is in the best interest of the Commonwealth because of the vital role [it] plays in the economy of the Northern Mariana Islands," the stipulation said.

"The parties agree that the future success of the bank is best achieved by ensuring the end to the receivership and receivership proceedings," the parties said.

June 13, 2006

Saipan Tribune

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