Millions of anonymous pass books to be done away with by year end
In an effort to curb money laundering, the Czech Republic has recently adopted an amendment to the banking law which bans anonymous bank accounts as of January 1, 2003. The only bank which is seriously affected by the change in the legislation is Ceska Sporitelna savings bank, which at the beginning of this year administered 6.5 million anonymous pass-books with a total of more than 100 billion crowns, all of which must be converted into registered accounts by January 1, 2003. After the deadline, the anonymous accounts will bear no interest but clients will be able to - as the law states - "manipulate with" the accounts for another ten years. With more than 4 months of the year passed, only around 500,000 have been converted. Ceska Sporitelna has therefore launched a massive media campaign to get clients to come to their bank as soon as possible. The enormous task of converting all the pass books is sometimes compared to the division of currency after the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993. I talked to Martin Skopek, member of the managing board and deputy chief executive officer, and asked him first what extra costs the bank had incurred?