Adrian Loveridge Column – Poor Service by Foreign Banks

During the current lockdown it’s perhaps an ideal opportunity to reflect on the positives and negatives of an everyday small business and hope that these experiences can benefit us all in the recovery days to come.

While not directly tourism related, any reasonable person has to ponder what on earth was on the minds of the management of one or more ‘local’ banks to increase their charges during the current pandemic, especially when it was abundantly imminent that another lockdown was about to be enacted.

When the majority of customers are already reeling from the effects of dramatically reduced ‘service’ delivery, the closure of branches without any meaningful consultation with the people who fund their operation and being literally forced into migrated online websites, some of which are far from user-friendly.

In our own personal transactions over the last couple of months, the tardy response of at least two different banks that we deal with have caused us substantial monetary losses and hugely increased unnecessary stress.

Even when the particular bank makes obvious mistakes, the procedure often involves lengthy phone calls to remote ‘customer care’ centres and spent precious hours rectifying their problem, all at our expense, in terms of time and resources, without even a hint of an apology or compensation.

Sadly as a country we have grown to accept a diminished level of service from our financial institutions, at least partially due to Government default of debt, giving these organisations little opportunity other than to extract additional revenue from the ‘little people’ to make up that deficit.

What is so alarming is that the overwhelming number of businesses here, both small and large, will critically depend on these lending entities to sustain them until some degree of normality and viability returns.

And with seemingly such detached directors at the top of the management tree, which can only be a logical explanation for the poor levels of service meted out by the lower level of employees, it is difficult to comprehend how many of our private sector entities will survive.

Perhaps the biggest puzzle is why do we tolerate such a general poor level of service, when the majority of these foreign owned banks could not get away with it in their own domains located in the more developed countries?

My first days as a lifetime entrepreneur at the age of 12 years were spent walking door-to-door with a cheap suitcase selling kitchen items to houses in the UK from the monies I earned selling imperfect shirts from stalls in markets like London’s Petticoat Lane.

In the near six decades that have followed, I have desperately tried to understand how bank managers and their employers rationally think and sadly, do not appear to be any closer to comprehending them.

But I do know that unless there is a seismic shift in the way that ‘our’ banks respond to the immediate needs of local small to medium size businesses in the very near future, many of those enterprises will cease to exist by the end of this year.

That will inevitably take a further toll on Government coffers, so perhaps it is now long overdue that the current administration bites the bullet and encourages banking reform.

Open Letter to Financial Institutions – What is the COVID-19 Plan?


As the COVID-19 cripples world transportation, many areas will be severely affected…. these include Food, the opportunity to work & earn money, etc…… I would like our PM & her Government to engage the business sector/others and begin planning on methods to reduce the economic impact on the population:

  1. Banks, Credit Unions, etc. to reduce/suspend for a period of time, Loans/Mortgages/etc. payments
  2. Credit Card companies to do similar
  3. Food Importers, Supermarkets, etc. to NOT increase prices

and other transactions/processes that ordinary people have to bear daily. We are not asking to ‘wipe-off’ these agreements ……. just suspend them until (we hope) the virus is under-control and the World begins to get back to normal.

ks, BU commenter

The comment quoted connected with an online article Caribbean Banking Association Says It Can’t Be Business as Usual as Coronavirus Spreads the blogmaster read yesterday. The impact COVID-19 is having on the world spans the gamut – Italy on lock down to other countries  at various stages of executing a containment strategy. Unfortunately it translates to the global economy projected to slip into a ‘recession’. This is not good news for Barbados given the current state of the local economy. There will be some more pain Barbadians have to endure bearing in mind it is a country already suffering from economic fatigue.

Why should the comment by ks be of interest to all of us?

We are observing local financial institutions mobilizing to protect the health of staff and customers. A good thing all agree. What we have not heard so far – is how financial institutions plan to react to rising unemployment because of the economic slowdown. Global commentators are ominously forecasting that this recession will be worse than 2008. How will financial institutions commit to foregoing revenue to support economies like Barbados about to crash and burn?

Many businesses in Barbados are experiencing a significant drop off in sales, especially in the hospitality sector. If Barbados has to move to stage 2 and 3 of the Covod-19 disaster plan the situation will get worse. The ‘haircut’ Barbadians had to suffer  would have been in vain. Barbadian households and businesses will default on loans. The government does not have a Stabilization Fund like Trinidad and Tobago or the capacity to print money for stimulus like the USA.  The greenback is still considered the world’s reserve currency.

The question for the financial institutions in Barbados is –  What is the plan? We are in this together right?






The Phartford Files: Case of the Bungling Banks – Epilogue

Submitted by Ironside

Today is Day 08 of the latest ATM skimming in Barbados (I am counting from Monday 08 July) and unless I have missed the news, there has been no formal public apology from the Bankers Association or from any individual bank so far. Pastor Dear’s rebuke seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

I am writing this epilogue primarily because of a question asked by a commentator on the original article in response to a further comment I had made. Here is an extract of my comment:

Ironside: July 13, 2019 6:56 AM

The problems we are facing in Barbados are not unique to this neck of the woods. If we take a global view of the matter, one can clearly see now why the time is fast approaching when everyone will have to be a walking point of contact with the financial system…the time when plastics are a thing of the past and subcutaneous implants are it. And I can now see why many will welcome it!

For those not familiar with the language, “subcutaneous” means “under the skin” a reference to implantation of microchips in human and animal bodies If your first reaction to this is “pure science fiction”, it means you have been off the planet too long and it’s time to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. As we shall show, this is all W.I.P (Work-In-Progress).

At this point, let me open myself to the charge of being a conspiracy theorist, by saying that there are two good reasons why the banks didn’t/ still don’t feel pressured to apologize or, as I argued in the original article, to up their game with respect to providing better ATM security, considering that this is the third time this has happened in recent times.

#1: Reading between and beyond the lines, the bank’s position is that you (the victim) are the chief suspect! When they say they need to investigate, they mean that they need to investigate “you”. Of course, that is not what they actually said! Moreover, it would be too obvious for them to ask that every “victim-suspect” be interviewed by the police…give the bank some credit for a change (puns intended)! Of course, your front line bank employee is either unaware of or not necessarily a willing party to this. So don’t shoot the messenger.

But we cannot doubt that the victims have been investigated as potential culprits or co-conspirators. Clearly the banks don’t give a phart anymore about customer loyalty or their favourite promotional phrase “valuable customer”. The charade of delaying the return of funds is all window dressing, aided and abetted by the current fraud legislation and manipulated – as always- by the bigger banking powers/owners across the globe.

From our perspective as victims, it is either that you have been skimmed or not. If you have been skimmed, the police investigation – unless they are investigating you- is irrelevant because you still have to get back your money. What we are arguing – and still angry about – is the missing upfront apology and the length of time taken to restore the funds of the victims.

#2: The banking elite across the world very well know that in order to get people accept an unpalatable measure such as skin implants, they have to create a crisis that drives the masses to that inescapable solution. Foisting it upon people without an urgent rationale will simply bring resistance.

These “bigger banking powers” know, as any biologist knows, that people are like the cold-blooded (poikilothermic) frog, which you can boil to its death simply by raising the temperature of the water in which it sits, a few degrees at a time.

So-called conspiracy theorists (e.g. David Icke) call this psycho-social process, “problem-reaction-solution”. Here is how it works: (1) create a problem (let there be a series of ATM skimmings) (2) let the public react in outrage repeatedly (as we do each time this skimming occurs) and (3) then offer the “solution” (an under-the skin chip).

While I may take issue with some of Icke’s “conspiracy excesses” you have to agree with him that this “problem-reaction-solution” psycho-social engineering formula actually works. It takes time, but it works! We have seen it with the “justified” burgeoning electronic surveillance on citizens as practised in the US and other countries and with the acceptance of the LGBT (now LGBTQ) movement. It is now work-in-progress with the “degenderization of the child” movement; if you know someone who is pregnant, get ready to welcome an unsuspecting “theyby” or two the world!

If you still have any doubt that this subcutaneous chipping is W.I.P read these two articles:
Chip Implants: The Next Big Privacy Debate:

The Internet of Human Things: Implants for everybody and how we get there:
“But how about those of us black people who are very prone to keloid scarring (growing flesh)?” asked a fellow blogger. Well, I am sure they will find a solution to that because technology is just marvellous isn’t it?”

What should trouble us more, is the knowledge that an advanced form of this chipping was predicted in the Bible in the context of global commerce:
It [the beast or political directorate] also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Rev 13:16-17)
Perhaps we are some distance from the exact technological state predicted in the Bible; such a state would, however, be a natural progression from the chip as we know it today.

But as I said before, I am not expecting to be around when this new financial world order is unleashed. Praemonitus, praemunitus. [To be forewarned is to be forearmed!]

The Phartford Files: Case of the Bungling Banks

Submitted by Ironside

Last weekend’s electronic theft of thousands of dollars from the accounts of several commercial bank customers and the subsequent response of the banking cartel (a.k.a Banking Association) to the crisis should leave no doubt in anybody’s mind that said banks do not have our welfare at heart. In pure Bajan terms, they don’t give a phart about us!

But we knew this all along, what with the plethora of idiotic bank charges that have been levied against customers over the last few years and the draconian fees charged to customers to get a mortgage.

An acquaintance of mine has had the experience of having a certain bank, with origins in mountie country, telling her relative who lived overseas that they would treat her application for a mortgage to build in Barbados as an “investor mortgage” meaning that she would have to pay higher interest charges: their logic was that she was not going to be living in the house here immediately! That was a few years ago. But can you believe that?

Incidentally, when that pooper was challenged the bank did an about-face, albeit a late one, for by that time my acquaintance had taken her relative’s business elsewhere!

The truth of the matter is that most of these commercial banks, like lots of other businesses here and overseas, are now indulging in corporate bullying. While a whole lot of mouthings are being made about bullying in schools, nothing is being said about the corporate kind. Corporate Bullying Awards are long overdue!

Perhaps the Blogmaster will find and post one of those many ads by CARIFS that encouraged Barbadians to use their bank cards rather than carry cash. We listened and we complied. You bankers achieved your hidden agenda of reducing the demand for in-bank/teller services! Then you left our Bajan “botsies” exposed at the ATM!

(inserted by the blogmaster)

I listened to one pastor’s video on this matter and I agree with him 120 percent. It is the banks that were ripped off and therefore, they are the ones who should be reporting the theft to the police. He is right! Their first order of business should have been to make an apology.


(inserted by the blogmaster)

However, if the new (April 2019) Barbados Banking Association Code of practice is any guide, the banks may argue that they have up to ten days to make such an apology. Here is an excerpt from the Code:

Each bank will, in response to a written complaint: –

+++7.3.1 Send a written acknowledgement, within ten (10) working days of receiving a complaint. This acknowledgement may take the form of letters, emails, texts, or such other forms as the bank may have available for communication with the Customer. +++

Where are you getting your customer service advise from, BBA! Melmac? BBA standards are voluntary but that advice must be the biggest phart on customers I ever heard! Ten days?

This is not the first or second time that this type of fraud has occurred.

On February 19, 2016, Barbados Today reported Acting Assistant Superintendent Jefferson Clarke as revealing that “in the past year alone, an estimated $50,000 was stolen from local ATM cards through skimming”.

The same article reported that in October 2013, “two Bulgarians were arrested and charged in what was described back then as the country’s largest case of ATM fraud, involving about $1/2 million”.

The sum total of the police’s response (according to said article)? “exercise greater care when using the banking machines”. Easy for them to say!

But, what was the collective response of the banks? According to said article, President of the Barbados Bankers’ Association at that time, Glyne Harrison intimated:

+++From our end though we do have a process that has been in place since we had the last incident with the Bulgarians. We do have a bank anti-fraud committee that sits and reviews these types of incidents and that committee is currently working to identify the compromised customers as well as the compromised ATM locations+++

What crap is this we are hearing? Money is being repeatedly stolen from ATMs and you are “sitting”! Where? On the corporate toilet? No major improvements in ATMs? No high tech surveillance on ATMs? Just what the heck have you really done of any substance to protect the ATM user in the last 7 years? And still up to today, a 4-digit only ATM pin number? Excuse me, but you must be having diarrhoea! If so, you need to get out the Dica!

Please get real, BBA. Flush this approach to banking security down the nearest corporate loo and come again. You have to make much more sense than the Police Fraud Squad (or whatever its name is) which can’t seem to figure out what is necessary and what is pure Bajan “maliciousness” in making a statement about such fraud!

You bankers need to give back the affected people their money you allowed hackers to steal IMMEDIATELY before we explore a class action suit. The Police Force is NOT responsible for refunding bank customers! The “investigations” you are talking about are mere bullying and stalling tactics; the same type we are seeing with the refunds to the beleaguered Clico policy holders!

We understand that bank deposits are covered by insurance up to $25,000. Therefore, once the customer has clearly pointed out the unauthorized transactions, the banks, if they really believe half the jobby they put out as customer service slogans, should have our monies back in our accounts no later than 24 hours of the report. Customer service is also about fast turnaround time, if you didn’t know!

So my dear, friendly bankers, get up off your bullying, bungling, corporate arses and get some real ATM security! And don’t phart any additional charges on us for it either!

UPCOMING in this series: “Nursing under the Microscope” Reviewed

Bank Fees and YOU!

The following was submitted by a member of the BU family who requested to not mention their name – David, blogmaster

Rather than justice for all, we are evolving into a system of justice for those who can afford it. We have banks that are not only too big to fail, but too big to be held accountable.”  – Joseph E. Stiglitz

Recently I received a statement from the Bank with charges deducted, exceeding far more than the interest deposited. I do not recall receiving notice that changes were being made. This account was rarely used, only to update when necessary.

Speaking to friends and neighbours re: same, I found this puzzling that money deposited for a “Rainy Day” is being siphoned off in the dead of the night. Some affected are pensioners who are considered members of a vulnerable segment of society. When the bank was asked to explain, here are a few of the explanations given by staff members:

  1. A pensioners with a Barbados pension is exempted once they submit the necessary certified form.
  2. We are following a directive from senior management.
  3. A message to the effect to take your business somewhere else.

Are Bajans now having to pay for the misdeeds of previous governments? Why has the government through its agent the Central Bank of Barbados allowed banks to charge high rates for borrowing and pay ridiculously low interest to customers with added fees to inflate charges to ordinary bank accounts. Is the Central Bank interested at all in curbing the excessive behaviour by banks in Barbados? Should ordinary Barbadians accept what we are told and do nothing about it?

What do our brothers and sisters think about this money grab known through the ages as greed?

Here is my opinion on the matter:

The Banks are using OUR money to lend US our own money and have the audacity to charge us high fees while using our hard own money. Are our relatives living in other jurisdictions aware of this rip-off?

For as long as I have become aware Barbadians have been encouraged to set aside a percentage of earnings to guard for a rainy day. This was always praised by successive governments as a worthy behaviour. Today we now see a transformation of what is expected. To compound the problem for ordinary Barbadians, investing in government bonds is not an option given current challenges. Also tax breaks given to both ordinary and middleclass were removed.

What are ordinary Barbadians to do now if they want to plan good lives for themselves and family?

The Adrian Loveridge Column – Banks Can Do More

While this may not be universally accepted, I firmly believe that our banks can be far more proactive in contributing to our overall national economic recovery. We understand they are under severe pressure regarding the Government ‘haircutting’ of bonds, debentures and other borrowings, but no-one can be under any illusion that they will not make up this deficit by imposing yet more ‘creative’ ways in extracting fees, from the only other means possible, their customers.

From a tourism perspective, they could partner with the private sector, possibly through the trade association, to offer bonus or cash-back when using credit cards for payment during specific shoulder periods to grow the staycation market and entice more locals to dine in our myriad of restaurant choices. Of course there is no reason to restrict any promotion to solely accommodation and dining, it could be expanded to include day spas, activities, attractions and car rental among others.

At least one of our banks currently offers enhanced cash-back on groceries, fuel and pharmaceuticals with a lower percentage rate offered on other purchases or payments.
Any joint promotion could also be restricted to specific periods, a particular month or two and the technology already exists to monitor the cost-effectiveness of the campaign.

With what appears, an inevitable Brexit, just days away, we can only speculate at what potential negative effect it will have on our British market, whether through higher prices and/or a lower value of Sterling. It is therefore imperative that we put some other marketing initiatives in place that could possibly help mitigate this threat.

‘Our’ banks will not be immune from any loss in visitor arrival numbers and spend from the United Kingdom, even if only reflected in currency exchange at branch level. Ian Strafford-Taylor the CEO of FairFX, the foreign exchange dealer, recently stated ‘with two months to go until the UK is due to leave the European Union, it’s not just analysts who should be keeping an eye on how the Pound reacts. British tourists looking to get best value for their holiday money, in or out of the Eurozone, should be watching closely where their money will go further.

The vast majority of repeat visitors will already be paying prices higher than ever before, due to the imposition of the various new taxes. Perhaps it has never been so important to at least try to demonstrate that we can continue to justify a value-for-money offering.
Local banks should also be fully aware of the explosion of pre-paid currency cards in our source markets, where fixed exchange rates can be obtained, often with a very generous sign-up bonus.

In the case of US Dollar options which include Revolut, WeSwap and FairFX, these can be used just like debit cards, with no commission payable by the holder. As an example, the GB Pounds 25.28 placed in a FairFX card gave me a spendable value of US$63 with a TopCashBack special offer.

A great deal more creativity is needed.

Banks, Hear Our Cry

Former Banker John Beale

The blogmaster read Marsha Hinds-Layne’s recent column of August 30, 2018 with some interest – Calling the banks to account. Although she is promoted on the article as the PRO of the National Organization of Women (NOW), for the purpose of this blog the blogmaster prefers to tag as a former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate.

Why the association with the ruling BLP?

The content of the article gives an insight into a conversation that is probably taking place on Bay Street. How does the government pressure commercial banks to sacrifice enormous profits in order to contribute to the recovery effort to rescue Barbados.  It is no secret that across the globe the banking industry is a powerful sector and wields enormous influence with governments.

By coincidence this week the blogmaster was researching a matter (let Google be your friend) and stumbled on the following article posted to the People’s Empowerment Party website on the 26  January 2011 that is as relevant today as it was then.



The Nation Newspaper of 20th January 2011 featured an interview with Mr John Beale, the former President and Chief Executive Officer of RBTT Bank (Barbados) Ltd and Barbados’ current Ambassador in Washington D.C, in which he described the process through which banks in Barbados impose bank fees and other charges on their Barbadian customers.

Mr Beale’s reported words were as follows:-


“For example, every year a bank would sit down with their directors and their managers and they may say: ‘We made $1 million last year, we must make $1.1 million this year, where is it coming from?’ The guy may say the loans are not as many as we had in the past, and then somebody comes up with the bright idea – ‘let’s make some extra fees’, they go straight to bottom line, there is no cost to it. Someone may ask ‘how can we do that?’ The answer would be ‘Let’s tack on a $5 fee here or something and across the board that would give us another $200,000”.
The Barbadian people should read this statement over and over again, and let it sink into their consciousness! Many of us suspected that our banks were unreasonably and exploitatively imposing bank fees and charges on us, and now we have express confirmation from a man who functioned at the highest level of the banking fraternity!


Richard Cozier, CEO BHL

The Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) was established in 1987. It is fair to opine that after 23 years in existence the general public has not ‘cotton’ to the idea of investing in public companies. Whether as a means of diversifying investment portfolios or a mechanism to build a voice in the board rooms of leading companies in Barbados, public distrust in public companies remains high. Perhaps local analysts may suggest it has to do with ignorance i.e. lack of education on the part of Barbadians about the benefit of investing in public companies..

The BU household considers itself fortunate to own shares in a few of the companies listed on the BSE. Yield on the investments has been modest at best but the small quantum of BU’s shares does not contribute to any alarm at this stage. The prevailing economic conditions has considerably eroded our capital investment but we are in for the long haul and hope to recoup on the backside of the next economic boom. The BU household defines what is an eternal optimist!

In the wake of the CLICO disaster a reasonable assumption to make is – an already cautious Barbadian investor is likely to become ultra-conservative. It is for this reason companies currently listed on the BSE should be transparent in managing their affairs.

Against the foregoing BU raises a concern directed at the management of Banks Holdings Limited (BHL).

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