Establishing a National Bank, Pie in the Sky or …

Mia needs to keep airy-fairy long term ideas like inter-island ferries and a new national bank in her head and the discussion rooms until they are fleshed out and sources of financing are identified. What she needs to do is call in ministers Prescod and Duguid and find out what short and medium term plans they have for garbage collection and transportation respectively – Bajan in NY

At 3 hrs:11 minutes of the video – Town Hall Meeting with Barbadians living in Brooklyn, New York #WeGatherin – Prime Minister Mia Mottley floated the feel good idea of reestablishing a national bank.

The BU family has discussed this matter extensively, credit unions have been trying for years to establish a credit union bank that of late has morphed to an alliance with Capita, a 100% owned company of the Barbados Public Workers credit union.

The blogmaster has a couple questions.

Section 21. of the Barbados Institutions Amended Act, 2018-51states:

Restrictions on business activities

41F.(1) Subject to this section, a license

(a) on a solo basis shall not incur exposures

(ii) incur an exposure to a person or group in an amount that exceeds 25 per cent of the capital base; or

There are other restrictions that should be of interest for inquiring minds.

How would the government of Barbados capitalize a national bank given its perilous financial state?

Successive Auditor General reports paint a picture of a poor financial governance culture. How would this prevailing culture influence the management of a national bank?

 

237 comments

  • @Vincent

    You are well aware why BNB was sold. OSA was lead for CSME and it fitted his agenda.

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  • Also as for them having to be paid in USD they are currently making their profits on the back of Bajans in Bajan dollars are they not? They then come back to us when they make money and take it out of the island hence reducing our reserves.

    The cost of setting up a hybrid form of a national bank will more than pay for itself in a few years. Providing it’s run as a business and not a grain bin for the yardfowls and party faithfuls to feed from. Dont forget Scotia got rid of all the other islands but here, why do you think that is?

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  • @John A

    Will allow the more savvy Sargeant and Vincent to respond to you. Suspect your comment does not address complexity of such a transaction.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU at 9:16 PM

    Please remind me. What was OSA’s CSME Agenda as it related to BNB? I was always under the mistaken impression that there was a local reason. But I am always in a learning mode.

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  • He supported a pan Caribbean movement. The trini companies at the time suffered from excess capital their domestic market could not absorb. Barbados was always on the hunt for US dollars. It all addef to his regional positioning.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU at 9 :27 PM

    That is an interesting perspective. However BNB was not purchased with excess T&T capital.

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  • @ David.

    There is a slim line between complexity and excuses.

    As Vincent said BNB did make money and as a result a buyer was ready to take it up. Remember though when it was a Bajan bank they did help many small business out where other foreign banks wouldnt have. So yes it could of been more profitable but to do that it would of had to stray from its mandate of helping many who no other bank was interested in. The bank was sold the same way BST was sold and for the same reason. Next time you see OSA ask him what that was.

    We are as good as anyone else all it takes is management and a lack of interference from the duopoly.

    After all aren’t bajans not still working for both Republic and Massy today or are all their staff now Trinis?

    Sorry can’t agree with you on this one. We can be as good as anyone else once that is the intention from day 1.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Baje
    That is one meeting turn. There are hundreds of Meeting turns operated both here and overseas in the Diaspora.

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  • @John A

    It is documented when the 4 hundred thousand dollarmen were recruited that one of them set about slicing the sugar debt from the portfolio which was negatively affecting BNB profits. The taxpayers as always picked up the tab.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Baje

    Banking and Finance is a Ponzi scheme. It is based on trust/confidence and the ability of the participants to meet their obligations when they are due. I am surprised that this particular Meeting Turn lasted for two decades. It says a lot about the capability and commitment of the Administrator. Rising tides raise all boats. The recession, that Barbados experienced over the past few years, is a low tide which sank this Meeting Turn. They were too many participants who did not meet their obligations and some who ran away before they lost theirs. Meeting Turns are not regulated. They work best among a small group of friends. This was too large.

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  • @ David

    Yes you are correct and how much agricultural activity did we as a country lose as a result of cutting off the debt? You realise that up to today we have never been able to get much of that land back into agriculture. In the meantime though we buy imported tomatoes and lettuce.

    In The case of a national bank you can’t just view it on profitability. You have to look at what it’s mandate is and what it means to the economy on a whole. Without the BNB many Bajans today would not be able to get work or home. BNB was one of the main banks in the early days that financed the PSV sector when few others wanted to touch it.

    It’s like the transport board if we wanted it to be profitable what would bus fares be? On the other Hand if it could break even, or only require a small subsidy that would be worth it based on the economic activity transport provides in terms of moving people for work.

    You got to decide if you want a sports car or a station wagon sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @John A

    Have no issue with establishing a national bank, trying to find out if this is about pie or not.

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  • @ John A

    David Bu has a tendency to hyperbolize at times. This is one of those occasions. I know that those loans were re moved to a special institution before the sale.

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  • ANY SELLING of Government’s remaining shares in the Barbados National Bank (BNB) to the Republic Bank Limited (RBL) of Trinidad will be hailed by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party as a good move. Owen Arthur, former Prime Minister of Barbados and current Opposition Leader, sees such an act as not only “a triumph” but a productive stroke for the Barbados economy. Government’s selling of the remaining BNB shares to RBL of Trinidad and Tobago emerged as a topic during a DAILY NATION interview with Arthur after the last sitting of Parliament on Tuesday. “The Government has recently, I think, agreed to sell the shares . . . to the Republic Bank. I see it as a triumph because the decision that I made in respect of the old Barbados National Bank was to try … and rebuild value; that can be a benefit to Barbados,” said Arthur. The Arthur-led administration had sold 57 per cent of BNB’s shares to the RBL in 2003. RBL subsequently acquired additional shares in the bank, increasing its holding to 65.13 per cent. Republic Bank recently announced that it wanted to get 100 per cent control of BNB and would soon make an offer for purchase of the outstanding shares. “Now having been instrumental in causing the shares in the BNB to be worth a lot more than if they were only under the Government control, I now can’t oppose that,” Arthur said. “I believe the BNB has been a success story because the Government now has value that we would not have had if we had not done what we did. And if [the shares] have value, you use it. “So I am not going to oppose [the sale], and I wish the country will not fight against it because it might be a good thing for us.”

    Owen Arthur Opposition Leader. 

    Nation Newspaper October 28th 2010

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  • @ David Bu

    Yes. The taxpayers footed the bill. They always do. Do they not? So why do we want a repetition?

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  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    @Baje meeting turn/ponzi scheme negative remark

    Meeting turns are NOT ponzi schemes

    Meeting turn, esusu, su-su, box hand, micor-financing, whatever they are called came across the Atlantic with us. They still survive. Can you tell me how many banks founded in the great white north have survived for more than 500 years?

    More likely than not, and whether or not you knew it, your mother was probably able to keep you in school because she participated in a meeting turn

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  • @Vincent

    The mention of sugar debt that was removed from BNB books was a response to BNB being profitable. It received an assist from government.

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  • @Vincent

    I think many people lost focus on what the mandate of BNB was. Yes it was to make money but more so it was to help finance those who couldn’t get financing anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Simple Simon

    The Ponzi scheme effect describes the fact that those who received their meeting turn early benefitted at the expense of those who are not getting their turn now. It is like Pyramid selling. If the Meeting Turn collapses the last few people will not get back their contributions to the Meeting Turn .

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  • @ John A

    I agree. The objective was to reach the unbanked. Of course some abused the facility. The traditional commercial banks were quite willing to take the deposits of the low income workers but were not too generous in granting them loans. It also had a mandate to grant loan capital to small and medium size businesses. It was a success story not without its challenges. HR and a few others had to do some heavy lifting in the early stages for which I am very grateful.Most of us wanted it to succeed.

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  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    Thanks Vincent, but I am quite knowledgeable about Ponzi schemes [and their namesake Alfred Ponzi, Pyramid selling [eg. Amway] and meeting turns. Well read. Came up in a home where ma ran meeting turns for decades, when she died maybe 1,000 people came to the funeral, standing room only in a big parish church a token of the respect in which her community held her. I participated in meeting turns for decades. Worked in banking both here and abroad for the first decade of my career, but found it boring, and left for work that I found to be more interesting.

    So I won’t comment on banking matters.

    Do 1,000 people show up for any banker’s funeral?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Vincent Codrington

    I may be wrong but Arthur said that at least one of the reasons for selling the bank was that it was being hampered by bureaucracy. He also said at the time that the bank was not that profitable and made mention of a changing economic landscape.

    @ David
    You have to be assuming that the sale was tied to Arthur’s commitment to regionalism. I don’t recall him saying so at the time.
    He sold it in my opinion to get cash. Same reason the last set of shares were sold by his successor.
    We think that putting lipstick on a pig makes it a beauty queen.
    Public sentiment was against the sale of the bank in the first place. When the international banking landscape really changed- consignment banking and the like – we realized we had no national leverage in the game.
    Now we are hearing it was alright to sell the bank but not the shares when Arthur the architect supported selling the shares. To now present , to save face, that a mistake was made is pure hypocrisy.
    Blood is on all their hands. Once more the Duopoly is caught it it’s own trickery.

    The Duopoly Rules

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  • @ Simple Simon

    I know that you know a lot. I do not dismiss those who run meeting turns at all. I was just clarifying that finance is about trust. It goes wrong when some people try to beat the system or just cannot pay back. People then rush to salvage what they can and cause more problems. A financial meltdown.

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  • @ William Skinner

    I am not confirming nor denying your perspective on the matter of the sale.. And I am sure you do not expect me to.
    I can agree that it was not a popular decision.

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  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    Meeting turns can fail, but so can banks, and so can any business. Much depends on the integrity and the competence of those running the meeting, the bank or the business. And to a lesser extent on regulation. I doubt that meeting turns which have no written regulations are any more likely to fail than Barings, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    @Vincent CodringtonSeptember 26, 2019 11:06 PM

    Agreed.

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  • @David

    Yours @9.08pm

    Thanks for the Report, but I found this* which fits in with my observation very useful :

    *On the other hand, the foreign-owned branches and subsidiaries, which often have the backing of the larger parent institution and can rely on its network of CBRs, do not seem to have been affected at all. In many Caribbean countries, this includes subsidiaries of large Canadian banks that play an important role in the domestic banking system.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Vincent Codrington

    We have no confidence. As a regionalist, I don’t really oppose genuine corporate/ financial partnerships but I oppose regionalism being a convenience.
    We simply also thought that our national bank’s assets were too small or limited to be a major player.
    I don’t understand how we always act surprised when international financial challenges reach us. It seems we are either uninformed or do not pay attention.
    This is the point that Hal Austin makes repeatedly. We always pretend we are deer caught in headlights.
    Why do we sign international agreements or even attend the meetings if we are coming away with little or no understanding of how the international financial sector works?
    Why is it that Pacha can freely produce such scholarly pieces on BU about international financial matters but an entire Duopoly appears completely clueless?
    These are the questions we need to ask.

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  • @ David BU at 10 :24 PM

    Actually it may be closer to the truth that the assist was in the opposite direction. The Sugar industry was not profitable since 1967. It ,like Tourism today,is heavily subsidized.

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  • It may amaze some here on BU that many of these large international firms were started as rather small enterprises but evolved into mega corporations. We are constantly exposed to the finished product only.
    It’s all about vision and being aware and proactive to constant change. One of the major problems we have regionally is that we ignored the evolution of information via the information highway. We did not move with rapidity to radically reform how we teach and learn. This failure will affect us for at least another quarter century. In other words we are playing catch up.
    It’s extremely depressing to listen to a call in program for several months when the two leading topics are the non delivery of water and the non collection of garbage. It means that we are still grappling with very simple problems. Only today I read here on BU that our water system has been in trouble since 1989. That means it has been successfully mismanaged by the Duopoly for thirty years.
    With that kind of track record we are in quicksand.

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  • @ William Skinner

    Economics and Finance are not easy subjects to understand nor to master. They have as their object of interest the behaviour of man as he produces and distribute goods and services. Man is an organism that does not lend itself to stationarity. He reacts to the physical and social stimuli coming from his environment. And these are constantly changing. There are unknown unknowns. If any man tells you he knows them he is a liar and the truth is not in him.
    I am afraid we will have to live with the apparent “cluelessness” of the Duopoly . I admire scholarship. But scholarship does not easily lend itself to the solution of problems which affect us daily. Scholarship is good for debate especially in the Housekold of BU.

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Good heaveans! I am up early but very late to this palaver and it seems to me that as smart as this crew generally are that for some reason many were left at the arrivals lounge (well departure lounge to be precise) re regional banking…or as said are in some time stalled “aged prism”… the theories posited supporting the absolutely nonsensical ploy promoted by the PM make little practical sense!

    Bluntly said by @Vincent: “…where is the logic for a GoB owned bank? What unfulfilled niche will it serve?”.

    It is nonsensical (in my humble ‘opion’) to speak of what a nascent BNB – started in the late 70s – did for Bajan small business and all that and promote that type development as a rationale. The market place is capitalized and financed in COMPLETELY different and new ways (more accessible) now …

    As the blogger@pacha said “All kinds of organizations are now some sort of financialized institution or conducting banking-like business.”

    WHAT NICHE is this fulfilling can be repeated again and again…? Is there a strategic blueprint and plan laid out by the PM on the purposes of this bank?

    In the current market space apart from the Credit Unions (which are BANKS ) providing capitalization for small and mid sized operation there is also a source like the EGFL…. (have the cognoscenti of the Bajan financial space forgotten our BDB issues) and too ‘venture capital’ funds.

    What freaking benefit is there to a GOVERNMENT majority owned BANK in this era, at this very dynamic time …to prove WHAT…more corruption and tax payer scalping….Excuse my language but this is a BS idea and some ridiculous (simplistic, was said) commentary…steeeupse!

    BTW @Northern and too @Sargeant, you both cite past comments on regional banking so surely you can help the blog understand that Republic Bank has been a power player in the region for decades now AND most importantly have been plucking the assets (as they demited the region) of the ex regional banks bit by bit for the last 20 plus years. That news item re Antigua may be current but is VERY OLD in context…the item in Guyana…same thing.

    Thusm I find it amusing the remarks made NOW when in reality this picture was painted some 15 plus years ago… ANYONE familiar with the banking space has to be aware of that…let’s be REAL folks…cut the hlalf baked folly!

    No practical PM should be putting tax revenue into setting up a bank…that’s solution seeking a problem… of corruption and largesse of grave disadvantageous proprotions…. surely the PM can (as she is) lend govt’s regulatory heft to various forms of financial innovation (M-Money, for ex) but a new national bank…whatever for!

    And Mr Vincent your comment about the complexity of finance and economics caught my attention…are they really! Yes, the details of let’s say derivatives or hedging or microeconomic management are not often easily mastered as they require a grasp of formulae and detailed concepts/modelling but when we speak of national economics or household debt within a banking financial environment the complexities can certainly be mastered with a little effort (and commonsense) …despite the continual changing stimuli!

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  • @ William

    It is easy to be wise after the event. Mr Arthur announced the selling of BNB in London, at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton. It was such a surprise that the packed hall was in shock. Staff at the BNB got the news on the CBC 7pm news a couple days later and I was in Barbados when it made the news. I could expand on this, but won’t.
    I remember it well, not only did I attend the meeting, but that day I had a meeting with the deputy director of the Chartered Institute of Banking (as it was then called) and asked her a theoretical question about the about the selling of a state-owned bank. There had been a rumour.
    That night I gave Mr Greenidge, the then general manager, a lift back to his hotel and during the conversation it was clear there had no planned meetings in London. He was about to fly out to Dublin.
    I have said the sale was the biggest set back to the financialisaton of small and medium businesses in Barbados since November 1966. It made no economic sense and politically was a muddle and done only as a fire sale to raise money.
    To make matters worse, we had DeLisle Worrell later celebrating the presence of Canadian banks in Barbados. Of course, there was no technical explanation of the supremacy of these Canadian bank. It said a lot about Dr Worrell’s lack of knowledge of banking regulations.
    Let me say in simple terms, there is no logical or business argument against having a Barbados-domiciled bank. Without it we have to depend on the Chinese and look what the Chinese are dong in Kenya, Sri Lanka and elsewhere when governments default on their debt. Argument about funding etc are irrelevant.

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  • @Sargeant

    You read this piece which is more relevant to Barbados?

    Following the global financial crisis, global banks have reduced their involvement in less profitable and riskier activities globally, including correspondent banking. Large global banks have recently come under increasing pressure to raise their capital, streamline their business models and to re-evaluate their risk exposures (Lagarde, 2016). As a result, these banks have been reducing activities in areas that they perceive as either less profitable or, more generally, detrimental to their risk tolerance — a process that is sometimes referred to as “de-risking”2. The underlying drivers of this global “de-risking” trend are multi-dimensional. They include advanced country regulators’ attempts to strengthen prudential regulations and enhance economic and financial stability; their concerns about tax avoidance, money laundering and terrorist financing; sanctions; and business decisions by correspondent banks in a new macroeconomic environment
    characterized by low interest rates and increased costs of regulatory compliance.

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  • @William

    To determine the veracity of Arthur’s statement forget his public statements, it is those in private after a couple of rums at the domino table.

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  • We can label this one: When Corrupt Relationships End.

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/09/27/selling-out-2/

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  • @ Hal

    The first thing we say is that banks like Scotia want to leave because Barbados isn’t profitable enough so why is a local bank needed. So tell me if this is true why does Republic want to expand here by buying Scotia? Or are we suggesting that the Trinis can do everything better than us and we are only good enough to work for them?

    When people make all these grand assertions about banking, why is it that when they are held up the scrutiny the opposite is in fact true?

    My point is if Republic can come here and be successful and expand, why do some feel a local bank would fail if properly run as a bank and not a political tool. As I said earlier a local bank does not have to be a government bank. Government can be a minority shareholder with the rest owned by credit unions, private investors and the general public.

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  • @David
    yours@4.43am (yuh up early!)

    I am still of the opinion that the earlier statement cited pertains more to Barbados than what you reproduced, looks like I am a “glass half full” person and you are a “glass half empty” individual but no matter I was concerned about many references to our lack of access to Correspondent Banking and the politicians may be on to something or they are alarmists and just want to confuse the public.

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  • Wait a RH minute according to the excerpt from the Nation, Arthur as LOA supported Thompson in his efforts to get rid of Barbados shares in BNB back in 2010. What is so remarkable about that you ask? Mia Mottley was a loyal member of Arthur’s opposition when he lent his support to Thompson yet she is claiming that she wouldn’t have made that decision in light of the global financial situation post 2088 or 2009. What we have is some revisionist history she can’t have her cake and eat it too but politicians revel in the fact that Bajans have short memories.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    @ dpD at 3:46 AM

    Thanks for confirming the thrust of my intervention on the complexity of economics and finance as they relate to some commenters. I must point out that it is not so much the mathematics but failure to understanding the limitations of mathematics to capture the nuances of social and psychological phenomena. Mathematics is just another language other than prose of expressing the probability of economic relationships. So yes one needs to be numerate.
    I agree that there is no need for a National Bank GoB will repeat the mistakes of the past. In any case they have already found other avenues to continue the same errors of judgement.

    @ David BU
    We would make greater progress if we spend less time on OSA aand other persons and concentrate on the issues. OSA has made his contribution. Let us pursue the task of helping MIA not to waste her opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David September 27, 2019 4:43 AM

    These foreign banks have every reason to be more than overly concerned about the ‘regulatory’ risks they face in these backwater banana republics willing to sell citizenship for forty pieces of pirated Caribbean silver which hardly ever find their way into national development projects.

    Where is the rule of law? Just look at the state of the local judicial system where the process of litigation involving matters of a commercial or contractual nature takes years’ (to be kind to the local ass call the Law) to be completed.

    When these risks are assessed against the background of what happened in the CLICO case and the recent ICBL scenario in which clear manifestations of deliberate regulatory breaches (and conveniently contrived avoidance to take official investigative action at the local scene of the alleged white collar crimes) have been observed should we surprised that international financial institutions would seek to avoid these ‘tainted’ jurisdictions as they are perceived to be?

    Now you could appreciate why international ‘watch’ bodies like the OECD would find easily offered excuses to monitor closely (on their partisan radar) countries like Barbados.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU at 4:45 AM

    I asked before. What recently contrived financial innovations are doing a more efficient job of transferring money internationally ? Are correspondent banks still necessary? They certainly are costly to banks and customers.
    It is time to get your mind out of that”prism” or did dpD mean “prison” . Either way, please put some wheels on your heels.

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  • @ Hal

    No surprise here. The Duopoly has the habit of going into the Diaspora and fooling Barbadians , who take them at their word. They then return home and put on the finishing touches.
    We have some politicians right now pretending that they were totally unaware of anything until last week.

    The Duopoly Rules

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Reasonable people can disagree on the same facts and unlike the dangerous hypocrisy currently in US politics present reasoned points to support their view…with that said I quote the following and seek a reasoned retort from the author Mr Austin and those like @John A who support a new creation of a Bajan bank.

    “Let me say in simple terms, there is no logical or business argument against having a Barbados-domiciled bank. Without it we have to depend on the Chinese and look what the Chinese are dong in Kenya, Sri Lanka and elsewhere when governments default on their debt. Argument about funding etc are irrelevant.”.

    I would add: 1) is the current market not robust enough to provide the seed funds and other support needed for Bajan startups

    2)Are regional banks like Republic or NCB (Jamaica et al) unable or unwilling to support scaleable regional ptojects?

    3) Are the quite active and robust credit union banks not able to do the same?

    4) Is EGFL no longer able to fulfill it’s mandate and do the same?

    5) What NICHE or special need will a new BNB expand, invigorate or develop anew?

    6)Will this new entity be 100% owned or be a private-public enterprise, and exactly how and to what level will it be capitalized?

    7) How does a SINGLE poorly capitalized Bajan bank forge any meaningful path in the current financial regional markets…will it be focused on commercial activity of household credit (credit/ debit cards etc) or will it be an investment bank style vehicle aiming at bigger fish that what for example EGFL caters to?

    The questions can run on further but let’s pause there…

    Input from u proponents of this airy ballon floated by the PM.

    And BTW we can relitigate why BNB was sold all we want but the fact is that during that last period under Mr Greenidge the bank had started to be a bit of a more profitable player in the local market … a market that has changed markedly since then…

    …are we now saying that in one fell swoop we can recapture that market share or is this going to happen in 5 years or 10!

    Educate me please!

    Yours in lost in the complexities of finance, dpD.

    Liked by 2 people

  • And here I was thinking all along that Arthur offered shares in BNB to John Public Barbados and given our mistrust and reluctance to possess an investment culture,that offering went either unnoticed or was disregarded by John Public Barbados.Further the sale of BNB was to raise funding for the rebuilt Hilton Hotel.
    In any case the proposal by Mia to reintroduce a First National Bank of Barbados should be a matter of pride and industry once again regaining its rightful place in things bajan.
    On the other hand hearing today that India is providing funding to Caricom is not to be celebrated.That poor azz nation is a divisive force in the Anglophone Caribbean.Witness the tribalism in Guyana in particular and in Trinidad where even their stupid sounding music should be banned from the Caribbean airwaves.

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  • Of utmost importance is the operations of the Barbados Water Authority.It is unlikely that there will be any improvement there until Mia takes the bull by its horns and remove that cell phone salesman from the professional position of General Manager of BWA.It is idiocy to say the least that a BWA is not headed by a professionally trained Manager as has been the practice all these years.Its tantamount to making the same fool the Chief Justice of Barbados.Mia wake up and smell the coffee at BWA.Remove that idyut immediately.

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  • After becoming independent in 1966………

    Insert in the national anthem “These banks that are beyond recall are NOT our very own.”

    Jus mekkin sport.

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  • Fellows don’t get caught up in all the long talk and pontificating. Instead focus on one thing that answers your questions about if the economy can support a local bank.

    Republic started with 1 branch and now has 8. They are now looking at Scotia and i believe it’s only a matter of time before they acquire it. I also doubt they are doing it for regional integration but rather because they see growth potential here.

    Secondly in the same time deposits on credit unions have grown to record levels again showing there is growth here. Now we can say the sector lacks innovation or what ever we want, but they are the facts. In the meantime Signia also acquired Globe Finance as again they see potential for growth and expansion.

    So the facts show banking and financial services is a growing business even though their view is myopic and lacks innovation.

    Those are facts not fiction.

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  • @John A

    Barbados has a population of about 300000, of whom about 250000 are aged over 14. So, we can more than support a bank. Our real problem is the business model. I prefer the bancassurance model. But we have a culture in which we call bank clerks bankers and every bus conductor has ideas about finance.

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  • I thought Barbados Light & Power is supposed to be an efficiently run company using modern technology to advance its systems.On enquiring whether one can pay on line using one’s credit card to pay for that service I was shocked to hear Oh No you have to go to the bank,we don’t take payments by credit card direct!!! These people don’t want their money paid to their office direct!Some modern company indeed.
    The reaction by BWA was equally shocking.Same story.Go to your Bank we don’t take credit card payments for billings…Are these people serious.Backward lot if you ask me.
    The reaction was Flow was positive.Of course you can pay your bill by credit card.
    No wonder nobody is investing in Barbados.We are still in the dark ages in many respects.

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  • @ Hal.

    Plus don’t forget they will give you a $10000 overdraft if you open a savings account with them and deposit $10000 on it. Lol

    Banks are no different to any other business they either innovate or perish. Remember when banks controlled car loans? Then companies like Globe and Consolidated came along and changed the game. All a new bank needs to be is Innovative and modern In their approach. I have a friend who lives here six months of the year and he is catching hell to open an account, even though he and his wife own property here. I thought we wanted hard currency ? Must have been rumour.

    If a new bank came along and said bring a land tax bill and 2 forms of ID to foreign property owners you don’t think they would get both their business and hard currency?

    Bunch of dam jokers.

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  • @ John A
    Your determination and consistency cannot be questioned. You must continue to press on . Calling some of them jokers is really a compliment. Obviously you are a mild mannered person.
    We want to change everything but deep down we want things to remain the same. It’s not what you know but who you know.
    Cold soup warmed over is now the special of the day. Ideas and innovation is not on the menu. We don’t have a social partnership we really have social partners. Two completely different things.
    Keep up the very good work John A.

    The Duopoly Rules

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  • @John A

    You should not let your enthusiasm get ahead of business logic. The blogmaster has posted several times that banks are failing and have to be bailed out across the Caribbean, you do not hear about it unless you follow that newsfeed.

    The suggest a business is sustainable based on the size of the population is the height of idiocy. The assumption being that players in the market will surrender the existing business. To make money a bank has to lend money and charge fees.

    What are we taking about here, building a bank from scratch or acquiring assets of existing. We are all over the place.

    Liked by 1 person

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @John A, your 12:15 is a bit confusing … so please explain further…for these reasons.

    Is Republic Bank a govt owned entity in the context of a BNB?

    When did Republic open that first bank and how many years have they evolved to be todays maguffy…so do u see that same growth trend line NOW in this contracting (merger) market regionally and/or our ‘gargatuum’ 250K people already shared-up market!

    The question is not whether Bajans can do the same as others…obviously we can… the question is how do we get back into a race and perform creditably when others are so far ahead already !

    Being patriotic is all good ….but sometimes one has to be practical and not sentimental…PARTICULARLY in business matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  • @ David.

    Acquiring an active entity would be ideal but as I said Republic started here with one branch and COB no doubt started with their first customer as well.

    The point is we see every reason why something can’t work and the Trinis see every reason it can. By nature we are a negative and lazy people, hence why our commerce and prime real estate is owned by others. If we continue in this archaic way of thinking we will be reduced to no more than the employees of others in our own country.

    I for one don’t want to see that as our people’s future but the decision is theirs.

    Let me put one scenario to you. Let’s say Trinidad had a massive company producing solar panels for caricom who were banking with Republic in Port of Spain. Now let’s say a group of Bajans wanted to open a similar plant here in Barbados to serve caricom and they went to seek financing at republic here. How you think that ball would play out?

    These are things the politicians and others never stop to think about as their world is made up mainly of theory.

    Like

  • Unless the Gov’t can cobble a joint arrangement with Credit Unions (and I can’t see them giving up their independence) it will be difficult for it to start a Bank. Unlike the BNB which had its genesis from the Gov’t Savings Bank with millions on deposit and a customer base of thousands a new Bank would have to scramble for customers. It couldn’t even use the name BNB as I’m sure the corporate rights to that name resides with Republic and start- up costs would deplete the Treasury.

    I’m inclined to give the PM’s musings about a “national” bank the same attention I gave Freundel’s statement about constitutional change to a Republic i.e. File under G for garbage.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ John A

    Plus don’t forget they will give you a $10000 overdraft if you open a savings account with them and deposit $10000 on it. Lol(Quote)

    You are talking about the business model, policy, not the creation of a new bank.

    Like

  • @ Hal.

    So much would have to change you are correct. Thing is though it’s for us to decide what we want.

    Like

  • @ Sargeant

    Have you ever seen a bank grown from scratch? I am out of this discussion. Some people are just speculating and talking nonsense..

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ John A

    Why don’t banks in Barbados compete? And why don’t the regulators do anything about it? In the US, the home of modern capitalism, antitrust legislation is strictly enforced. In the EU they are doing the same against the big digital companies.
    A challenger bank in Barbados can compete where it matters: on paying reasonable interest rates on savings; by not charging for cheque books for current account; by not charging for people accessing their own money on ATM; etc. It is called customer service.
    As I have said, Barbados is seriously under-insured: income protection, mortgage payment protection, critical illness, dental insurance, legal insurance; mortgages (for example, every graduate of UWI is a potential mortgage borrower, but we have a poor housing market), life insurance (whole of life and term assurance), credit cards, direct debit. Barbados is a very under-developed financial market which the government is ignorant of – one of my criticisms of its leading economic adviser who knows better.
    And, as I have said, pay all public sector workers through the new bank. Some will move their money, others will leave it. Compete on the basics. Establishing a new balance sheet bank in Barbados is an open door. Look at banking Germany, community banks in the US and challenger banks in the UK.
    I am out.

    Like

  • Small island corruption is always ugly because the victims are too vulnerable to fight back,,

    “Blitz Exclusive

    Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit faces a series of allegations of corruption, political fraud, money laundering, and involvements into numerous criminal activities, including drug trafficking. For years, he has successfully suffocated the voice of the independent media in that country and has also been continuing cruel persecution on his political opponents.

    But the team of investigative journalists of Blitz has already found several strong shreds of evidence of his corruption.

    On December 16, 2009, US Embassy in Barbados Bridgetown sent a confidential wire message to Washington, where it said, “1. (C) Allegations of corruption continue to mount against Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit as December 18 national elections approach. These allegations focus primarily on the Layou River Scandal, bogus Ambassadorial appointments, no bid government contracts, Ross University villas, and PM Skerrit’s personal real estate holdings. The opposition is attempting to package these ethical gaps into a viable campaign strategy, but so far the public appears torn between dismay at the scale of the transgressions and acceptance of a certain base level of corruption — as long as the corruption does not negatively affect them personally (and if they can benefit in some small way, so much the better).”

    Like

  • @ Hal
    @ John A
    These apologists hate to think. All many of them do is wait until they political masters speak and then fall in line.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sargeant
    I thought you knew better….are you saying that Republic has no large deposits of government funds whether Central or Statutory on their books?

    Like

  • @Gabriel

    Not sure what you are referring to, could you explain?

    Like

  • @ William

    Many Bajans live in a little bubble. They google things and talk like experts; they get paper qualifications and think they have won trophies; they think the world begins and ends at Barbados.
    @ William, I have already mentioned Piers Linney, the incredibly successful businessman and lawyer (a former investor on Dragon’s Den, see him on You Tube), a Bajan by proxy (his mother is from St Philp and he spent his summer holidays in Barbados as a youngster). He is a technology expert and his office was (is) about 200 yards from the Barbados high commission in London. He has never been called in for a meeting with Barbados officials or even invited to a social..
    Some time ago there was a business meeting in Barbados and the key note speaker, an Irish guy I believe, dropped out and they needed someone urgently. I was asked to help and approached Piers and he dropped everything and came down. He loves Barbados and the two of us can talk about St Philip for ages..
    Why is he not one of our business advisers?
    I have said all that to say this: if Barbados is serious about establishing a Barbados-domiciled bank you can bet your bottom dollar they will only consult locals with limited experience. Rotating mediocrity. Has the troubled Transport Board ever called on any of the returnees who spent decades working on London Transport for ideas? Of course not.

    Like

  • @John A

    Not sure what you mean. As far as memory goes Republic acquired BNB which had several branches in Barbados.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Sargeant

    Have to agree with you, hot air so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Y’all keep talking about a bricks and mortar bank. Is that where the discussion should focus, or a challenger bank using already established brick & mortar institutions, i.e. post offices?

    Like

  • @SargeantSeptember 27, 2019 8:48 AM

    I believe Mia and not Owen was leader of the opposition in 2009.

    Like

  • David September 27, 2019 3:18 PM
    “Not sure what you mean. As far as memory goes Republic acquired BNB which had several branches in Barbados.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    How about completing the full banking circle and reinvent the wheel by inviting Barclays Bank to return to the region to do banking in cyberspace using a holographic form?

    Who else would fit the bill other than the adopted mother of the Trinidad National Bank and birth Mummy of the Republic Bank of T&T now grown up enough to have her own children right across the ‘smaller’ islands?

    With Brexit looming without a common-market type deal as part of the divorce settlement, Poor-Great Britain would have to look towards her now estranged former colonies to peddle her goods and services as in the good old glory days of Britain’s mercantilism and commercialization.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Mia needs to tell the UN how many UN human rights treaties both governments have violated over the last 50 years in Barbados. She should tell the UN how many billions they have all STOLEN from the black majority in Barbados right along with the thieving lawyers and criminal minorities…that is what she should be telling the UN.

    It was not UN, US, Canada or even the wicked UK stole all those billions from the Black population. She needs to make sure everyone gets the story straight.

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1124665304409674&id=100005986451739&sfnsn=mo&d=n&vh=e

    Like

  • Getting back to the topic.

    @Sargeant, your thoughts?

    [audio src="https://barbadosunderground.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/gaston_browne_scotiabank-.mp3" /]

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    Round and round the mulberry bush we go. We do not know how to define it. We do not know what its function is.We expect it to work magic.
    Pie in the sky indeed. No one will be able to reach it in order to eat it.

    Like

  • @David

    He is playing what they call in NA “hardball” and in the present circumstances he has scotia over a barrel but I wouldn’t discount them walking away but it maybe a pyrrhic victory for Gaston in the long run. He is also at odds with Republic seems they were asking for a premium over and above what they would have paid to Scotia for a minority position for Antigua (remember Republic also asked for an exorbitant price when Thompson raised the possibility of Barbados purchasing back BNB). He also raised the possibility of Antiguans not repaying loans if Scotia pulled unilaterally pulled out and I wonder if the bank is already dealing with what is called “noncurrent loans” meaning loans that are not being repaid.

    All in all, a fascinating and frank piece would have loved to hear more.

    BTW he also disclosed what is an open secret RBC is also leaving, FCIB probably isn’t far behind

    JUST MY TAKE

    Like

  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/09/28/invest-with-bse/

    Very disappointed with the article. If you encourage people to move to the stock market with then you should mention the increased risk. If the officer did not mention it, then the journalist should have.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU

    It would be interesting to know why these banks are leaving
    and why it is rumoured that they are leaving?

    Is there a secret agenda? Surely somebody is sending somebody a message?

    These adversarial approaches to doing the Nation’s business have to stop. Enough is enough.
    Or should that be “Enuff is Enuff”? Wuh Loss !!

    Like

  • @Vincent

    It is a case enough is enough. These international companies are about growth and managing risk. The region does not fit the bill these days. You will see much more ‘downsizing’.

    Like

  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/09/27/water-saving-taps-may-be-mandatory/

    Good idea. Should have been thought of and done a long time in the past….

    Make this your national motto..
    If it is yellow, let it mellow. If it is brown flush it down…

    I cannot take my own advice as my wife gets angry and call me names if I try to let it mellow

    Like

  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/09/27/fair-ftc-decision-says-bwa/

    Forgive me for I did not follow the full story…

    It appears that some literary genius had a moment of brilliance, did some creative writing, all agreed on the terms, but when the mess hit the fan, they decided to ignore the guarantees in the creative writing.

    Stop copying stuff from elsewhere and develop what i suitable for you

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Theogazerts at 9:24 AM

    That allebed release from BSE is what I meant by commemters not understanding finance. Savings deposits are not investments. They are precautionary deposits to be drawn down when needed. The interest compensate for the loss of value over time. Investment in shares on the stock exchange is speculative game and very high risks. Savers are not interested in stocks. Theyare outside their risk tolerance. It is misleading to entice them with half truth

    Like

  • @Vincent

    You are saying the approach by the Central Bank under Worrell to entice savers to buy saving bonds was an incorrect approach?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    Auto correct working overtime. Reediting what was already edited. Exasperating.

    Like

  • @Enuff
    you have seemingly missed the point….if we cannot effectively run our current public bodies, how can we expect to add to that and have it work? We will be able to locate and implement the technology, and challenger/new banks are all about technology, yet we cannot find 5 garbage trucks?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David Bu

    I am sure that you already know my answer to that rhetorical question.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    Northern Observer.

    I concur. If we cannot manage old ,mechanical technology Is it not a bit risky to trust their management of digital technology?

    We know the instances where they have messed up the systems. I will not list. No names . No lock up.

    Like

  • @VC
    “It would be interesting to know why these banks are leaving and why it is rumoured that they are leaving?”
    Yes, this is the unanswered question.
    Where and why is the true battleground?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Tell “Enuff” that the people like bricks and mortar, good luck trying to wean Bajans into primarily online/direct banking which are a staple of Challenger banks.

    Like

  • The chap at BSE must have the best/loneliest job in the world, think if he went on a 5 year sabbatical anyone would miss him?
    I hope he has other duties.

    Like

  • @Blogmaster
    a troubling audio.
    The speaker is seemingly aware of the fiduciary duties of others and not his own. On one hand Caricom leaders wish to spout Caricom, and then when a deal is made with a Caricom member organization, Republic, it is not ‘local enough’ for them. The beef is with Republic, who wanted a premium for a 40% share of Scotia A&B. Is Scotiabank not to sell to the highest bidder? The speaker’s valuation, is clearly a slap in the face to his own people/corporations, suggesting the BNS loan portfolio ‘has no value’?? Further isn’t the GoA&B willing to pay(40% of 26M) +/- $10M for a 40% share?
    the best marketing tool for any jurisdiction competing against A&B for any investment.

    Like

  • @David
    I wrote earlier “ I wouldn’t discount them walking away”

    Here is a quote from a G & M article of two days ago (it is behind a paywall so providing a link would be unhelpful unless you are a subscriber)

    +++++++
    A Scotiabank spokesperson declined to comment, and it is unclear how the bank plans to proceed in Guyana and Antigua. The transactions are not financially material to Scotiabank but, in aggregate, were expected to deliver a modest boost to the bank’s capital ratios.

    NOT FINANCIALLY MATERIAL

    Like

  • @ Theo

    Wow! This is highly reckless and silly, taking money out of under-performing bank accounts and placing them on stock exchange equities. Where is the regulator? Where are the consumer protection people? Barbados is a real bandit country. Some time ago the BNB was offering people loans to buy shares. You just could not make it up.
    As you rightly point out, the article shows off the reporter’s ignorance. But that is par for the course. By the way, I believe this is the reporter I offered some help to and he rebuked me, saying he was a senior reporter and was busy.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Sargeant

    He is also studying law.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David BU

    This is a classic case study for a Management student: the interplay of politics ,economics and finance. Was not Gaston Browne a banker? He should know what is financially material.

    Like

  • @Sarge
    you know as well as I do, they (Scotia) are not walking away from anything. A journalistic interpretation is not relevant. Many heads have already fallen within their international division, the current group are on full alert. The objective of all 3 banks is to exit with minimal disruption, if possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @TheO
    the BSE is merely echoing previous statements by the PM
    https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/04/02/investment-drive/
    @Hal will like the unspecified changes to regulation

    Liked by 1 person

  • We seem to have plenty echo chambers these days. Commenters need to do their own thinking.There is no penalty for being proven wrong. Flying a kite serves a useful purpose. it allows the kite flyer to get expert inputs into policy making.

    Like

  • @ NorthernObserver at10:35 AM

    I always wonder why Canadian Banks are less impacted by international financial meltdowns. Is the ability to act quickly and clinically their strong points?

    Like

  • @ Vincent

    No. They are not big enough players. Even so they got caught up in the 2008 SPV scandal.

    Like

  • Northern
    So do what, sit back and twiddle thumbs? I say no!
    Sargeant
    But aren’t you a proponent of innovation and ‘out the box’ thinking? I am confused. In any event, post offices and other pay points would be the brick and mortar. But think about it, cheques are going to be obsolete just now with payments made by online transfer, bills via online payment etc. With the establishment of a credit rating system, loan applications will be an online activity with instant decisions and depositing of cash if approved. Brick and mortar?

    Like

  • Most UK banks offer online, telephone and in-house banking. Cheques and cash are demands by the regulator. It is also part of Nationwide’s policy to keep a branch in every high street until accountholders say no, along with many of the challenger banks (the reasons they were created in the first place to fill the gaps the big banks left open).
    New technology expands the cake, not reduces it.

    Like

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