Bank Fee by Another Name is Still a Fee

It was reported on the Central Bank of Barbados website that effective 1 November 2021 financial institutions were directed to charge up to a maximum of $3.00 for an ATM withdrawal -from reports some financial institutions had been charging as high as $6.50 for an ATM withdrawal! – See Central Bank of Barbados Intervenes on Debit Card Fees

The development is interesting for many reasons.

Financial institutions in Barbados have joined the outside world to implement strategies that force customers to access cheaper services via electronic means. A review of fees posted to the websites of banks reveals higher fees charged to do transactions inside the branch compared to ‘outside’. Why on earth would the Central Bank agree to a ceiling charge of $3.00 to do an ATM withdrawal when the old charge was $1.00 to $1.50 before the banks switched from the local network to Visa and Mastercard networks? The banks previously owned a local network called Carifs before a decision was made to shut it down, forcing credit unions who piggybacked on the Carifs service to add to the cost of doing business by having to issue Visa and MasterCard debit cards as well.

Secondly, the public is relieved no fee is being charged if the debit card is used at point of sale, whew! However, is the central bank aware the cost to business has significantly increased because the new debit cards are treated by Visa and MasterCard systems like credit cards? Instead of paying cents for a debit card transaction, the business will be charged between 2.5% and 4% on the AMOUNT of the transaction? For example, John Public buys an item for $100.00 – before the cost to the business 10 cents, with the new Visa and MasterCard the business pays between $2.50 and $4.50 for the transaction. Any guesses who will have to pay the increase cost especially at a time businesses are stressed?

Thirdly, where is the good reasoning to charge a $3.00 ATM fee IF customers are being encouraged to do more transactions outside the physical branch? It seems to the banks have decided to recoup millions in loss revenue from the 2018 domestic restructure made worse from poor lending conditions. A case can also be made for out of control consumption behaviour coming back to bite Barbadians hard in the rear-end. The message to Barbadians from inception of Barbados Underground has been – there are consequences for avoiding our civic responsibility under our so called democracy. We meekly accept wickedness in high places.

Fourthly, why did the Central Bank opt to ‘intervene’ in the matter of debit card fees when there have been many other public protests about high charges? What was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back?

Unlike its counterparts in the rest of the region, local regulators seem to play a passive role by comparison. The Kirk Brown matter comes to mind although a non bank transaction. It has not gone unnoticed in the Eastern Caribbean how governments working with indigenous banks have collaborated to buyout international banks who for obvious reasons want to bail from the region. The days of banks making too much money are finished with the rise of non bank institutions and the increasing risk of doing business. Unlike many countries in the region, we do not own a local bank and therefore unable to intervene in the market to offer relieve. Local banking is now the playground of foreign interest like most business sectors in Barbados.

The old people say, you made your bed, now lie in it.

82 thoughts on “Bank Fee by Another Name is Still a Fee

  1. David
    Expect more like this until the foreign banks complete their total colonial withdrawal.

    These are the things we’ve warned about for years. Indeed, its universal.

    Banks have revealed their parasitic nature.

    Seems certain that if one looks at their loan portfolios it would be clearly seen that there have been steady declines for at least 10 years.

    The rise of non-bank banks, hedges, etc also represent the wolf, on hearing the screams of a trapped population, runs coming, but not to help.

    Successive governments with their fecklessness have exercised the height of political malpractice by not long ago jettisoning these robber barons, as part of a radical economic restructuring, in favour of credit unions, cooperatives. Sandiford had a prime opportunity, circa 1991.

    Their policies were the opposite. They suppressed cooperatives with antiquated legislation. Three decades ago credit unions even required a special dispensation to buy buildings on Broad Street or land.

    So you’re right. This is the planting we’ve done. Now, it’s time to reap the grapes of wrath.

    • @Pacha

      Do you see how the herd avoid topics like this one? What does it say about where our priorities focus? If the blogmaster posted some issue about a politician or Mia, 100 comments in an hour. We deserve how we are governed some will say/

  2. @Pacha

    Do you see how the herd avoid topics like this one? What does it say about where our priorities focus? If the blogmaster posted some issue about a politician or Mia, 100 comments in an hour. We deserve how we are governed some will say/




  3. To talk merely about the numeric misses the deeper cultural point about the state of development. Not that we agree with your assertion.



    People talking about how banking fees affecting them in Barbados and that jackass come out talking ’bout much higher banking charges overseas.

    Sometimes if you ain’t got nothing to say, keep yuh effing mouth shut, yuh idiot.

  5. .

    DavidNovember 9, 2021 12:27 PM


    Do you see how the herd avoid topics like this one? What does it say about where our priorities focus? If the blogmaster posted some issue about a politician or Mia, 100 comments in an hour. We deserve how we are governed some will say

    Sometimes if you ain’t got nothing to say, keep yuh effing mouth shut, yuh idiot

    Love that
    That comments answers the blog masters Plaver

  6. Barbadians deserves a lot of what happens to them in financial institutions
    I. They are not risk takers but rather put money in financial institutions who in turn pay them neck skin to nothing
    There are other options where barbadians can make money in the financial markets and pay little or no fees
    Right now I recently bought a phone and I have negotiated a one year term period of no payments and no fees
    Barbadians must learn the art of negotiating the banks needs them
    They make the banks belive they need the Bank
    Try negotiating and investing and they will come out ahead
    Today the interest rate in the bank is nothing why even put money in the bank for the bank to use the money to fit and benefit their own purpose

    • Not the fee is being charged by credit unions as well. For those lacking understanding the breath of the issue.

  7. “Do you see how the herd avoid topics like this one?”

    Commenting is not compulsory

    Freedom of Speech Vs Right to Remain Silent

    I take the 5th

  8. “I recently bought a phone and I have negotiated a one year term period of no payments and no fees”
    And what are the terms after one year

  9. @ David BU

    What I find disturbing is the fact that Royal Bank refuses to change cheques unless you have a bank account with them.

    Another interesting development is banks requiring business owners to submit documents such as, request for name search and name reservation, Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of by laws or articles of association, business plan and projected cash flow, audited financial statements, resolution of directors for opening the bank account in letter form on the company’s letterhead, signed by the directors outlining the meeting or date it was agreed to open the bank account, company’s seal/stamp and statement of beneficial shareholders, before they can open a business account.

    A few years ago, Republic Bank in St. Vincent announced an increase in banking fees. The next morning, Vincentians formed long queues at bank waiting to withdraw their money.

    • @Artax

      Is it only RBC with the practice?

      A lot of the red tape comes from KYC/ATF/AML requirements stipulated by international agencies. It is a different world we have to do financial business.

      Barbadians grumble a lot.

  10. FrankNovember 9, 2021 2:17 PM

    “I recently bought a phone and I have negotiated a one year term period of no payments and no fees”
    And what are the terms after one year

    A basic monthly fee
    Been a long time customer with the same provider for more than five years

  11. Angela,

    Oh please, really? Invest where in Bim?

    The real real profit ventures, C&W, BL&P, Massy, all sold to overseas investors.

    Two at grossly deflated prices…very STRANGE that.

    This goes back to my post on another topic. Bajans are captive on their own land..sorry, plantation.

    Bajans should be free to invest overseas in real markets.

    Like the highly paid expats who can.

    Note, I have no issue with a company choosing to employ non citizens.

    But in the same vein, it is downright wrong to disallow bajans from investing overseas, when these people are often paid overseas, get a 35% tax break on theur earnings and hence have no stake in the Bim economy.

    That is the real issue, trying to keep bajan money captive, at the mercy of banks etc.

    It is wrong.

    • @Crusoe

      Barbados struggles to earn foreign exchange, how would you justify managing the liberal foreign exchange market you are promoting?

  12. “Thankfully they cannot control crypto.”

    They CANNOT control MANY THINGS THESE DAYS….if they people only knew how useless they have become and can only strong arm who is in their immediate orbit and who are fool enuff to listen to them…….in these new beginnnings they have become TOTALLY INCAPACITATED….that is what happens with temporary power and immunity…ya don’t even know when ya lost it..

  13. Waru
    What cannot be controlled is banned – like drugs.

    But even crypto has some problems too. Especially for the unfamiliar, the unconnected.

    However, it’s high time that the fiat money-changers be thrown out of the temple.

  14. “However, it’s high time that the fiat money-changers be thrown out of the temple.”

    They won’t hear…THEIR TIME IS UP..

    Pacha…they can read all about their predicament @

    they won’t need to worry, emails are kept in the strictest confidence and only used as a link to the book.

    Pacha …i don’t believe they are even understanding what’s happening…but that goes hand in hand with living in a FAKE WORLD for decades….while fooling and LYING to themselves…but THAT’S ON THEM..

  15. David
    Precisely! The same types of people who controlled the international central banks for over a century.

    They operate within an opaque environment, accountable only to themselves.

    However, even given the risks, this is clearly an opportunity which accompanies Western imperial decline. And that’s a good thing!

  16. Would someone inform me of the reason behind these very generous foreign owned banks holding a cheque in suspension for many days before clearing it? Case in point – a pension cheque issued by the Government of Barbados was deposited on Sunday evening to Royal Bank of Canada. As we speak at 4:27 pm today Wednesday 10th, November, cheque remains in abeyance. Is there a fear that the Government of Barbados does not have the necessary funds to support the cashing of this measly cheque? Does the soon to be Republic of Barbados not have sufficient foreign reserves to guarantee payment to Royal Bank of Canada? Or is there a more sinister reason involved that could center around an interest free loan to the bank for three days during which time said moneys could be deposited to earn the bank interest?

    • @Fearplay

      The issue raised by you appears to be local to RBC. As far as the blogmaster is aware a local cheque is held for 3 days. You should check with the bank and ask a question.

  17. The banks in Barbados have very bad reputations for unnecessarily holding checks for weeks on end. THey would hold on to a Canadian check for 7 WEEKS even though the check clears in a few days in Canada…..if it’s a large local check, they will try to hold on to it for months before clearing it and can only be using the money for their own benefit………they are vicious and act like people’s money belong to them..

  18. @ WURA
    I have been following how others in the region feel about PM Mottley’s recent speeches etc. I gather that she has impressed some regional citizens. Most of the articles have been rather supportive. This current one is a bit more critical.
    However, as I said previously, I don’t pay much attention to what our prime ministers say at these international gatherings because I still don’t see the results of the efforts.
    About the banking issue, everybody knows that the banks have been ruthless and have held up moneys sent to the island for no particular reason.
    These are issues that have been around for donkey years and is nothing more than the hot air.
    My thinking about the discussion is more in line with you and @ Pacha.

  19. OK, I believe I found out why they need to hold those Chequers for such a long time. Just think of the returns on a global scale of these unintentional loans we are force to make to these banks:

    The overnight market is the component of the money market involving the shortest term loan. The overnight market is primarily used by banks and other financial institutions. Lenders agree to lend borrowers funds only “overnight” i.e. the borrower must repay the borrowed funds plus interest at the start of business the next day.[1] Given the short period of the loan, the interest rate charged in the overnight market, known as the overnight rate is, generally speaking, the lowest rate at which banks lend money.

    Most of the activity in the so-called overnight market in fact occurs in the morning immediately after the start of business for the day. Banks and financial institutions analyse their cash reserves on a daily basis, and assess whether they have an excess or a deficit of cash with respect to their needs. More specifically, deposit-taking financial institutions (such as banks) begins with forecasting the institution’s and its clients’ liquidity needs over the course of that day. If this projection is that the institutions’ clients will need more money over the course of the day than the institution has on hand, the institution will borrow money on the market that day. On the other hand, if the analyst projects that the institution will have surplus money on hand beyond that needed by its clients that day, then it will lend money on the overnight market that day. In this context, the term “overnight” which means that the cash borrowed is repaid on the next day.[1][2][3]

    The bulk of trading occurs in the morning and is based on these projections. If, however, over the course of the day, the actual amount of money required by the institution’s clients departs from that projected in the morning, it may become necessary for the institution to borrow money on the overnight market to meet this unexpected demand from its clients; conversely, if the institution finds itself with more funds on hand than it anticipated late in the day, it will then lend those funds on the overnight market.[1]

    The overnight rate fluctuates over the course of a business day, depending on the amount of money demanded from and supplied to the overnight market over the course of the day. The rate quoted as the “overnight rate” may be the rate at the end of the day, or an average of the rate over the course of the day.

    Banks are the largest participant in the overnight market, although some other large financial institutions, e.g. mutual funds, also buy and sell on the overnight market as a way to manage unanticipated cash needs or as a temporary haven for money until the institution can decide on where to invest that money.[1]

    • FearPlay banks in Barbados not paying interest on deposits and two they have been complaining for years there is an abundance of cash on hand to lend because of a depressed economy. Where is the advantage in holding cheques?

      The central bank should feel obligated to inform the public why the practice of banks holding cheques for so many days.

  20. “I don’t pay much attention to what our prime ministers say at these international gatherings because I still don’t see the results of the efforts.”

    a whole lotta long talk and hot air signifying nothing..perfect for those who love flowery, go nowhere, nothing speeches…

  21. David

    Listen to Professor Brown. She gives her views on the consequences of neoliberalism, much of which we see in Barbados, including the dictatorial imposition of republicanism. The mistakes made by its proponents, over 40 years, which landed us with exactly what they tried to avoid – fascism as evidenced by Modi et al. Call this not a lost decade, as you are want to, but the lost half century.. See the dlp and in the future the blp as mere victims.

  22. David
    That kind of talk means absolutely nothing. The US was too. And they just had a fascist.

    What you are, have been and will be is an adherent to misguided neoliberal dead-ended policies imposed from outside leading to perdition.

  23. “I see these long speeches as padding the resume and interviewing for a job if things don’t work out in 2023.”

    someone said, as has happened for decades, only crooks would be interested in hiring crooks…which in these times, will never turn out well especially with all eyes upon them, as they asked….watch muh nuh..

  24. “What you are, have been and will be is an adherent to misguided neoliberal dead-ended policies imposed from outside leading to perdition.”

    don’t think that will ever be understood, grown people prefer sit like good little perpetual slaves and allow others to make decisions in their lives and that of their offspring into the far reaching future…’s now accepted by default.

  25. Pacha look….Barbados is proud to have apartheid and racism poisoning Black lives and practiced by every lowlife white, indian and syrian against the majority..

    .this one wants to leave it behind and think it will absolve him.., nah, ya carrying that evil with ya, it’s yours, own it…

    “In a video published on his foundation’s website hours after his death, De Klerk apologised for the crimes committed against people of colour.”

  26. @David,

    “Barbados struggles to earn foreign exchange”.

    Partly, but not quite true. Yes, an increase in productive capacity, reduction in imports by substitutuon and hooefully, expoets of services and goods, are desirable. That is basic economics.

    However, to your phrase, it is more complex than that and goes to my other points on various topics.

    I am choosing to not be more specific at this time.

    But it is more specific, although one word change in your statement would correct it.

    However, the issue is also wider and deeper.

    I will leave it at that.

    After all, surely that is what all of those highly paid “experts” are for, to figure it out?

    Unless they have an interest in maintaining the status quo?

    • @Crusoe

      The blogmaster may understand the point you are making. Arthur made some feeble attempt to liberalize the foreign exchange market…then the 2006 global crisis came along.

  27. Co-ops stepping up

    Movement to roll out more online payment options
    The credit union movement will roll out more digital payment solutions in the months to come.
    President of the Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Ltd. (BCCUL) Hally Haynes made that announcement yesterday, as he stressed the need for there to be locally managed digital payment systems, to counteract the popular international Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) cards.
    He made the point during the launch of City of Bridgetown Co-op Credit Union Ltd (COB) and the Barbados Police Cooperative Credit Union’s, One Union Card, at COB’s Bridgetown headquarters.
    COB’s chief executive officer Steve Belle and president Adlai Stevenson also attended the launch.
    “With the move to EMV cards, Barbados no longer has a locallyowned set of payment reels for the processing of local individual card and merchant transactions.
    “This essentially means that all non-cash transactions in the local economy are singularly tied to a non-local solution that represents an economic liability.
    “It also leaves us vulnerable to the same sort of disruption that resulted when the CarIFS (Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Inc) network was condemned by its owners. While this is of expressed concern to all local card users, it is of a special significance to us in the credit unions whose operations are restricted by license to Barbados,” Haynes said.
    He also made the point that while external financial institutions could shift to their benefit, the credit union movement was more invested in the local economy.
    “While other financial institutions can derisk, divest and move their bases of operation to more attractive domiciles, the very nature of our business means we are invested in and committed to Barbados in a way that others are not. As such, we more than others, need to adjust any ecosystem inadequacies where they occur as they negatively impact the credit union operations.
    “So, in the coming months, Barbados can expect new digital payment solutions
    that will place the credit union movement at the forefront of emerging payment space.
    “The BCCUL has already committed to the delivery of a new national digital payment solution that is set to provide credit unions and other financial ecosystem players with the infrastructure necessary to reclaim and recognise local payments,” he added.
    During his address, Haynes who is also the vice-president of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions, urged all credit unions to do more to provide more payment options to their members.
    “In Barbados, there is a need for a shift in our strategic and operational focus as credit unions. For us to emerge at the forefront of the emerging players, we need to commit to facilitating the delivery of market-relevant digital transaction solutions and product suites designed to provide our members and citizens alternatives to outdated and expensive products and services.
    “We need to provide our membership with choices for undertaking their transactions that will improve user experience, measurable increases in value and where possible, reduction in costs,” he added. ( TG)

    Source: Nation

  28. You can always tell when some are reading BU.

    COB launches credit card

    Holders of the new One Union card can avoid paying fees by using City of Bridgetown (COB) Credit Union ATMs or swiping during the point-of-sale transactions.
    That point was highlighted yesterday at COB’s Bridgetown’s office during the launch of the One Union card in partnership with the Barbados Police Cooperative Credit Union.
    During the launch attended by president of the Barbados Cooperative Credit Union League (BCCUL) Hally Haynes and president of COB Adlai Stevenson, chief executive officer Steve Belle responded to a question on whether cardholders should be worried about fees while using the card.
    “When you go to the merchant, the owner of the One Union Card does not pay any fee. It’s only if you access funds at a foreign ATM,” Belle said.
    After complaints by customers of banks and credit unions about increased fees as those institutions transition from [Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Inc.] CarIFS to Visa/MasterCard, the Central Bank reviewed those fees.
    The Central Bank determined that point-of-sale transactions were free, no fees would be generated if the client used their bank’s ATM, and that the maximum that could be charged at a foreign bank’s ATM was $3.
    Belle said the card provides all the functionality that the normal card offers and allows the user to access to funds at any point of sale or any ATM in Barbados or the world.
    Stevenson said they were pleased to offer the card at such a difficult
    “As an indigenous financial institution, there are unique challenges and obstacles that have continued to confront both our board and members alike. In our 38 years of operation, we have successfully navigated each situation and our organisation has emerged stronger and more resilient,” he said.
    “However, the current challenges associated with the pandemic and the economy we have have made our sternest test to date. Before the pandemic, our board had the foresight to reposition our credit union by finding and developing innovative card solutions for its members.” ( TG)

    Source: Nation

  29. From BT
    “Some of them complain of not receiving a salary for between three to ten months.

    Barbados TODAY has learnt that the lack of an income has placed some of the educators in extreme hardship to the extent that in some cases their mortgage payments are in jeopardy.

    A teacher who asked not to be identified for fear of victimization, said the talk in the schools is that the long delay in getting paid is the norm.”

    Fear is what keeps the system going.

  30. David
    These are the kinds of things coops wanted to do 40 years ago, maybe more. We’re again late to the party.
    But more functional and radical approaches are required.

  31. David
    These are the kinds of things coops wanted to do 40 years ago, maybe more. We’re again late to the party.
    But more functional and radical approaches are required.

    • @Pacha

      Agree with you. The CUs are being reactive because of decisions take elsewhere. The biggest issue has been the ability of the BCCL to come together.

  32. From BT
    “Earlier this year, Jamar Leon Ashby alias ‘Winston Hall’ from Montrose, Christ Church, admitted before Justice Laurie-Ann Smith-Bowell to entering Luther Mayers’s home as a trespasser and stealing several items including a living room set, four tables, a dining table set, a clock, an air condition unit, a bed set, a vacuum cleaner, a toaster oven and a printer.”

    “My brother is still very distraught and angry because he left here in 1956 and having worked and saved up everything to come home . . . back to Barbados and just relax,”

  33. “My brother is still very distraught and angry because he left here in 1956 and having worked and saved up everything to come home . . . back to Barbados and just relax,”

    yes people who LIVE ABROAD become PREY upon return to the islands, in Jamaica they can lose their lives, first time i saw an elaborate plot to shoot the prey to scare them in Barbados….lady could have easily ended up dead for what she worked so hard to accumulate..all because some little thief in a bank decided he should have it……don’t mind the BU shitehounds….

  34. It is never my intention to just highlight the negative.

    I focus mainly on Barbados because that is where I am from. However, the stories from other islands are often much worse.

  35. David
    We, as an active member then, had demanded the political will to circumvent the dated, vacuous, mentality of the leadership of the League then.

    But Bajans at all levels, lacked the courage to do those things which seem obvious now. The problem is that there are now a larger and wider set of things to be done. Not just catching up on those left undone.

    • @Pacha

      The BCCL is under pressure because revenue margins are being squeezed and the challenge will be to support the heavy bricks and mortar plant it has been investing of recent.

  36. David

    Thanks. As you know well, we’re not up to date on current developments.

    When COB wanted to buy the building on Broad Street these were the very people in opposition.

    We had argued then that the CUs had to look past the ownership or RE to the financial and economic developments coming afterwards.

  37. David

    Must admit. This is very good initiative but it could go much further. For example, build connections with international coops for funding and organizing Bajans and other Caribbean national abroad. And if building is important start a construction company. Or vehicle dealership.. It does not even make contact with fintech.

    We are not saying that coops should totally expose members to high risks. But like this initiative there must be a place, maybe 10 percent, taking the risks for driving economic activity from which all other members could benefit as a spin off.

    • @Pacha

      The CU movement has been infiltrated by an educated middleclass crowd, the result is a movement shifted from original mooring.

  38. @ Pacha
    Ignore the crocodile tears. The collective powers that be never wanted to use their powers to elevate the cooperative movement.
    They are now realizing / accepting that the international foreign banks have no real interest in the country or the economy.
    Sooner or later, we will be forced to accept that harnessing ourselves to so called international agencies and money lenders, is no true path to socio or economic progress.

  39. Too late is now the cry. The people should see this as a sign that they have to get up and take care of themselves and families….the government has never taken care of the majority and now they have placed the country in such high debt….they can’t take care of the people now, even if they wanted to…

    William…the know it alls did not listen….what a fine mess they put themselves in….they look real good in it.

  40. William

    Every word uttered is not only true but your prognosis is already a proven reality. David does not like China and the Asian Tigers as proof positive that economic transformation can NEVER happen with a reliance on Western powers and their anti-developmental agencies. For China has within 30 years emerged from being one of the poorest nations to be the leading economy based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).


    Its indeed sad to hear that the CU movement is so captured. Back in the 1990s when we were trying to get the then government to divest significant state assets to the movement those same middle class forces were thinking that we were too overly ambitious, even after showing funding was available. They were against buying the building on Broad Street, the land down St. Peter.

  41. The Credit Unions should form a national import and distribution company. This is a cash cow that foreign entities are milking. This can be done by either fresh formation of a company or a buy out of say S Smart, then expand.

    Form a holding company, with each C Union owning shares and with directors on the Board.

    Locally owned by the people, for the people, with profits to the benefit of the people, via credit union profit returns.

    Basic commonsense.

  42. William…whatever happened to fake Radical….i take it radical ain’t so radical anymore….🤣🤣🤣

    going forward they will get a lesson in the true definition of radicalism…

    those banks are going to mess with the right person(s) one day…they all always get what’s coming to them in the end and which they so richly deserve.

  43. @ WURA
    As Marcus Garvey said, we must always be on guard for the “ enemy within”. They will all be flashed out eventually. They can’t rape the treasuries forever. They cannot lie forever; and they can’t deceive the people forever.
    They cannot beg and borrow forever either.

  44. they can do as much as they want…for over half century…but not as long as they like…

    they can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time..

    this is THE END.

  45. William……decolonization coming up

    and it’s the people fighting tooth and nail to DESTROY IT

    people in Barbados better don’t allow any nuisance government to keep that curse in Black lives anymore…because they would if they can get away with it….destroy it and get rid of them..and march their backward asses up to the world court if necessary.

  46. Nation Editorial (13/11/2021)

    Time credit unions offer banking services

    With at least 200 000 Barbadians having their finances lodged securely in more than 30 credit unions, it’s fair to say that the home-grown financial institutions touch the pocketbooks and lives of people in almost every corner, nook and cranny of our country. Few organisations can make that assertion.
    So when Winston Cox, a former Central Bank Governor, recently urged credit unions to “up their game”, meaning provide their members with a “full range” of banking services, people with a deep interest in the fortunes of the movement took notice. Many asked, why not?
    “Credit unions in Barbados are at the stage where they can offer their members a full range of banking services,” said Cox, much like many of their counterparts in Canada, the United States and Europe. “Globally, credit unions are a mature inter-mediation financial model. In many parts of the world, they provide that full range of banking services to members and Barbados can do so as well.”
    That’s especially true for the larger ones, like the City of Bridgetown, the Barbados Workers’ Union and the Public Workers’ cooperative credit unions.
    “The model can easily be replicated or modified in Barbados to provide competition to the commercial banks,” Cox added.
    Eighteen months before Cox spoke about the way forward for a movement whose assets amount to more than $2 billion, Dwight Sutherland, Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, used a factual backdrop to paint an important social and economic picture.
    “The credit union movement remains one of the most inspiring examples of how working-class people can come together with a shared interest and a shared vision to empower and enfranchise a reality to mutual support for each other,” he said at a church service that celebrated the 30th anniversary of a credit union.
    The international credit union movement, of which Barbados is but a Lilliputian arm, has a mature and clearly defined feature that can and must be used to enable it to compete more aggressively against
    foreign-owned banks, which have far more resources – financial, human, technological and otherwise – than the indigenous financial centres.
    That’s why vital legislative and administrative reforms are required. For instance, the credit unions must:

    belong to an international and domestic financial settlement system that facilitates payments in foreign currencies across vast geographic borders.

    have a lender of last resort, like the Central Bank.

    provide members with the security and confidence that their resources are safe, something they have already done.

    maintain profitable levels of competitiveness and volumes of business that make them attractive to members.

    satisfy local and international regulations designed to protect people’s resources and prevent money laundering. For instance, do they have deposit insurance? How about their internal financial controls? Are they efficient?
    Those are the questions which must be answered before people decide how much of their assets to place in credit unions. They do have a highly regarded track record.

  47. No burglars who clean out houses in Canada or America? You keep identifying a case here and a case there. How many cases are there.?

    You keep trying to elevate yourselves above those of us who remained here.

    My wish is that you remain where you are and keep your nasty, superior attitudes with you. You guys are all negative about Barbados and Barbadians 24/7. The response used to be that your criticism was mainly directed at the political directorate.

    I see we have now moved on to the general population.

    Even as we work towards a better Barbados, it is good to remember that –



    It is a very good thing I have my internet and tv to see how your system metes out equal justice.

    To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind.

    Why not stay in America, where it is likely that Trump Terrorists are likely to have successfully arranged the hijacking of the next elections and the Ku Klux Klan will possess. AR 15s that they can open carry in play parks and shoot “suspicious” black children at will?

    The Courts are already packed with Trump Terrorists. The election officials will be Trump Terrorists. The legislatures will be packed with Trump Terrorists. The Executive will again be Trump Terrorists.

    White power will again be run rampant and without any real challenge.

    But you don’t see how life as you know it is hanging by a thread!

    I hope the thread holds. I really do.

  48. Imagine somebody relocating to Barbados with the attitude that they are simply prey and we are predators.

    And then they blame us for the way they are treated.

    They are not actors and cannot hide what they think of us.

  49. Well, well, well! Britney Spears wins her freedom after being enslaved by her father’s court ordered reign.

    Crazy place for women too! Seems like she has “shone a light” on the system such that it must now be examined.

    Are all her millions intact?

    • @Donna

      An approach is to pick those commenters you are of the view you can learn. Scroll by the others. The blogmaster finds it very useful.

  50. The blogmaster is not convinced of some of the positions in this BT Editorial.

    Embarrassment of riches headache for credit unions
    There have been some interesting developments emerging from the global pandemic that may have been overlooked by the average man in the street, but which may have an impact on him, nonetheless.
    In the face of lockdowns, business disruptions, thousands of employees in the public and private sectors working from home, and general uncertainty in the economy, many people have decided to top-up their savings.
    Barbadians have been through rough times before. We know how to “tighten our belts”. When the global financial crisis created contagion from one corner of the world to the next, Barbadians hunkered down.
    The economy slowed to a drag, and the former administration responded with increased taxes on an already burdened population.
    Today, we are experiencing even more troubling times simply because there are no safe harbours to shelter. Government has tried to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable among us, but it is coming at a hefty price tag and at a time when state revenues are under severe pressure.
    But the average Barbadian is averse to state assistance. They find the process demeaning, rather than a temporary entitlement for which modern societies make provision.
    On this occasion, though, faced with significant unemployment and business closures, most have responded wisely by safeguarding against any future crisis events.
    An examination of the 2020 Financial Stability Report (FSR), jointly produced by the Central Bank of Barbados and the Financial Services Commission (FSC), showed that not only were Barbadians putting aside a tidy sum for that rainy day in financial institutions, but it seemed their favoured places to save were credit unions.
    According to the FSR “The exposure to commercial banks was reduced from the previous year, as all financial institutions held smaller balances except credit unions.
    The credit union sector became the subgroup most exposed to the commercial banks, as they increased their deposits, while the finance and trust companies significantly reduced their deposit holdings compared to 2019.”
    FSC statistics show that at the end of the second quarter of 2021, this island’s credit unions held $2.87 billion in assets and the amount has been climbing every quarter since the beginning of 2020.
    Of the assets which are creeping ever closer to $3 billion, the movement held an estimated $537.90 million in cash, $1.80 billion in loans to members, $430. 42 million in investments, $96.58 million in fixed assets and $69.16 million provisioned.
    Commercial banks still dominate the financial space, however, when it comes to deposits. But what is noteworthy is that the deposits of credit unions represent the savings of ordinary citizens.
    It is clear that Barbadians are confident in the credit unions as safe institutions, and that commercial banks are simply not working for them in the way they desire.
    The hue and cry over rising bank fees and the fact that in an environment of very low or zero interest on deposits, a growing number of Barbadians conclude that it is increasingly too expensive for them to keep their money in commercial banks.
    But this growing attractiveness for credit unions and the movement’s obvious embarrassment of riches is posing a major headache for their management teams. These indigenous financial institutions are now forced to ask a very serious question. “What do we do with all the excess cash that we have?”
    The obvious response would be to turn to the traditional answer of loans to members. But given the uncertainty in the market, Barbadians are wisely holding back on new debt and major spending.
    Job security during this pandemic is a real concern for workers whether in the private or public sector.
    To compound the situation, the appetite for investment in Government paper has been eroded following the administration’s debt restructuring exercise.
    What has resulted is a still tepid response by local institutions and individuals with excess cash to invest in Government paper, despite their history of strong returns and the absence of default.
    Another matter that is adding to the stress of credit union managers is that with their growing treasure chest of cash deposits, has also come increased scrutiny from the regulators.
    The attention and resources that must be diverted to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) is an unavoidable bug bear.
    And with Barbados being placed on various adverse AML/CFT lists, the hammer is coming down on credit unions to get their houses in order or face fines and other sanctions by the FSC.
    The pendulum is now swinging, and we suspect that commercial banks are quite happy to offload many of their small, average Joe customers to the credit unions.
    The move reduces their reserve requirements to be held with the Central Bank and cuts the cost to keep these customers on their books.

  51. AS ;long as the population STEPS AWAY FROM THE SLAVE SYSTEM…the government in determinedly keeping in place to TRAP BLACK LIVES into more poverty, submissiveness and low salaries/oppression etc….the usual anti-black criminality……..they can survive this as well…do not allow them to win.

    …government can then proudly continue their LOSING STREAK,,,.

  52. FSC taking tough stand

    By Shawn Cumberbatch

    The Financial Services Commission (FSC) is stepping-up its vigilance of anti-money laundering standards and practices at insurance companies, credit unions and other non-bank entities it regulates.
    It has issued new guidance intended to “provide the industry with benchmarks for the proper functioning of their operations” and to be referenced “in the conduct of [the FSC’s] supervisory role”.
    The regulator also said the updated guidelines would “assist reporting entities in determining how they may deal with meeting their obligations” under the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention and Control) Act (MLFTA).
    In addition to insurance companies and credit unions, the new Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism And Proliferation Financing Guideline For Financial Institutions Regulated by the FSC has to be followed by all other non-bank financial institutions, including those involved securities trading, and companies managing pensions and mutual funds.
    The new guidelines include a requirement that “financial institutions that are parent companies or financial holding companies should implement group-wide anti-money laundering and the combating of the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing programmes that encompass branches and majority owned subsidiaries, was added to the section for consistency with fellow regulators”.
    It also required that “other than sections 6.8 and 6.9 of this guideline where reduced due diligence and simplified measures may be warranted and some procedures may not be necessary, financial institutions should develop programmes against money laundering and the financing of terrorism financing”.
    Section 6.8 outlined that “a financial institution may apply reduced due diligence to a customer provided that it satisfies itself that the customer is of such a risk level that qualifies for this treatment”, while section 6.9 said “financial institutions may take simplified measures to manage and mitigate risks, if lower risks have been identified in the risk assessment”.
    In the original guideline
    document regulated entities were told that if their company was privately owned, they needed to provide information on people with a minimum ten per cent shareholding. That has now been increased to 20 per cent.
    In section 6.4, which deals with enhanced due diligence “a financial institution may determine that a customer is high risk because of the customer’s business activity, ownership structure, nationality, residence status, anticipated or actual volume and types of transactions”.
    Regulated non-bank financiers were previously notified that in order to mitigate the risks, they should “apply appropriate countermeasures to any country that appears on the list or when called upon to do so by Financial Action Task Force and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force”. They are now mandated to also take such action “independently of any call to do so”.
    Under section 9.0, companies must also now enhance their record keeping to include beneficial ownership information.
    This had to do with the provision which stated that “to demonstrate compliance with the MLFTA and to facilitate investigations undertaken by the Financial Intelligence Unit, financial institutions must establish a document retention policy that provides for the maintenance of a broad spectrum of records”.
    The previous requirement related to documents on customer identification, business transactions, internal and external reporting and training.
    The FSC said section 22 of the MLFTA obligates all financial institutions to comply with the guidelines and added that failure to follow the guidelines and related MLFTA could see non-bank financial institutions facing sanctions.

    Source: Nation

  53. Positive move by credit unions
    The recent news of the joint effort of the City of Bridgetown Credit Union (COB) and the Police Cooperative Credit Union in launching the One Union debit card is a major development.
    Barbadians interested in the improvement of what we may refer to as the indigenous aspects of our financial landscape should welcome this disclosure.
    In modern times, electronic access to money is one of the most convenient features of the customer service of financial institutions going back a few decades now.
    This news comes at a time when calls are being made in some quarters for the credit unions to be given banking status and when some are pointing to large amounts of deposits lying idle in local and regional banks.
    Of great interest about this news is that it was a joint launch between the COB and the Police Credit Union. This illustrates the flexibility and usefulness of local indigenous managers and regulators putting their heads together to solve a local problem generated by the small size of some credit unions.
    It is a further indication that Barbadian financial managers are capable of efficiently managing their remit in financial affairs when the focus is on the local problem as opposed to a onesize- fits-all mandate approach from foreign head offices.
    Hally Haynes, president of the Caribbean Credit Union League and a veteran of the local movement, told us that during the lockdown members of the three largest unions had access to their funds because their credit unions had the card payment facility. But the smaller unions did not have this facility.
    We, therefore, applaud not only the launch of the card but the cooperative message that it sends, given the capacity of this One Union card to strengthen the abilities of the smaller unions jointly with larger unions to provide card payment services to their members.
    This development bodes well for the future growth and flexibility of the local cooperative movement
    at a moment when this country is encouraging business start-ups and improving the ease of doing business Inevitably the call for the creation of a bank owned by the cooperative movement will once again arise, and it is a serious debate that should occupy our attention. Far sighted people established an indigenous bank some decades ago but that enterprise no longer exists. It may be argued that the social conditions of colonial times did not provide the proper soil for the growth of that bank.
    Yet we hope that the success of the local credit union movement and its operational efficiency, with some career banking officers moving from banks to credit unions is proof evident that capable managerial efficient expertise resides among our local people.
    Perhaps the credit union movement may in time enlighten local foreign owned banks on how they can protect customers’ deposits while assisting national economic goals by releasing some of deposit funds for investment.
    But ahead of any calls for deeper involvement in the financial services, we support the strengthening of more linkages of the smaller credit unions, whether with larger unions or consolidating among themselves.
    The larger credit unions are well established with solid financial footings, and the cooperation shown between the COB and the Police Cooperative Credit Union on the One Union card bodes well for growth and enlargement of the roles of this indigenous institution.

    Source: Nation

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