Mongolia: Golomt battles to restore its reputation

By:
Elliot Wilson
Published on:

It was the poster bank for a new Mongolia full of opportunity. But Golomt Bank’s reputation has mined unexpected depths over allegations of hidden defaults, lawsuits with leading financial institutions and a sudden parting of the ways with a globally respected CEO. Now a new group of executives is launching a fightback.

Bolormaa Luvsandorj almost skips as she enters the Coffee Bean café in Ulaanbaatar’s Bodi Tower. "Hello," she says, sitting down with a big impish grin on her face and ordering a full-fat latte, two extra shots. "How can I help?"

Goodness knows where she gets her high-spiritedness from. Luvsandorj is after all the newly minted executive vice-president and chief investment officer of Golomt Bank, having joined Mongolia’s third-largest lender in January. So far, it has been a baptism of fire. In the first weeks of the year, the bank was pilloried in the global press, with leading newswires lining up to hurl dirt in the face of a lender that was considered a leader in Mongolia’s tiny but fast-growing banking sector.

Particularly damaging was a long exposé published on February 5 by Bloomberg, which accused Golomt of destroying financial records, declining to sign off on financial audits,...