The cooperatives investing with shares as guarantee violating the regulations are under risk after being unable to recover the loans.
The cooperatives, capitalizing on poor monitoring, are investing with shares of banks and financial institutions kept for surety. The Cooperative Standard 2011 issued by the Department of Cooperatives (DOC) prohibits the cooperatives from mobilizing loans by keeping share ownership certificates as guarantee. The DOC officials concede that loans have been given to the members against this provision and the institutes, themselves, have also invested in shares. Deputy Registrar at DOC Upendra Bahadur Dhungana stated that investment was made when the share market was bullish for greed of quick bucks and the risks have increased as the loans have not been recovered now. He stated that most of the loans were mobilized before 2011 as mobilizing loans with shares as guarantee was stopped only in 2011.
“Many cooperative invested on share guarantee when the capital market was rising. The risk has increased now in lack of recovery as the market is on a downward trend.” He revealed that the cooperatives investing on shares violating the standards have been called to DOC and directed to return the investment. He claimed that DOC will initiate action if the investment is not recovered within the given deadline. The cooperatives have published notices of auction of shares as the money invested in cooperatives turned bad.
The Economy Saving and Credit Cooperative had issued a notice for auction after one Laxmi Bahadur Shrestha did not repay loan taken with the shares of Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant and Finance kept as surety. The Samjhana Multi-purpose Cooperative of Jamal has also issued a 35-day public notice to repay the loan after Shrestha failed to repay the loans taken with shares as guarantee. Samjhana has also issued a 35-day notice in the names of Binu Shrestha, Jane Shrestha, Dev Bahadur Shrestha, Rameshwore Shrestha and Laxmi Shrestha to repay the loans taken with shares kept as guarantee.
The cooperatives have been investing with guarantee of shares and other sectors due to poor monitoring and action by the government. The deposits of general public have also come under risk as the cooperatives have mobilized loans with shares kept as guarantee, invested on shares of companies similar in nature to the cooperatives, procuring shares of the companies where the promoters have invested and being involved in the realty sector. The cooperatives have even formed a commercial network and are investing in housing, hospitals, schools, colleges, airline companies and investment companies in the name of cooperatives.
Nepal Financial and Chandragiri Cooperatives, earlier, have been found to have issued loans on surety of good for payment checks against the legal provisions. The promoters of cooperatives, on their part, complained that there was lesser scope for investment in the urban areas and the standards have made it difficult even where the scope for investment is big. They argue that all the cooperatives in the urban areas will face shut down if all the provisions of the standards were to be implemented. Around 27,000 cooperatives, contributing over 15 percent to the financial sector, have mobilized around Rs 200 billion.