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Swedbank blames social media rumours for Latvian ATM panic

12 December 2011  |  7803 views  |  0 atm

Swedbank customers in Latvia rushed to withdraw money from ATMs over the weekend, panicked by rumours swirling on social media sites that the bank was in financial difficulty.

Mutterings about Swedbank first began circulating online in Latvia around two weeks ago after authorities took over local bank Krajbanka.

Among the claims made on social networking sites were that ATMs in Sweden had been shut-down, that the bank's Estonian operations had been killed off and its Latvian CEO had been arrested.

Speculation intensified over the weekend and worried customers began lining up at ATMs to withdraw their cash, emptying many machines. Swedbank estimates that around 15 million lat was withdrawn over the weekend, seven times as much as normal, says the Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, the bank insists that all of the rumours are unfounded and says it is cooperating with authorities in Latvia and Sweden to stop them and "calm down the situation".

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