British Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 20, 2021

Hold banks accountable just like politicians

Hold banks accountable just like politicians

In the same way people vote against politicians who displease them, Premier Andrew Fahie said residents should take similar action against local banks that refuse to create favourable programmes to assist people who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When you are angry at something a politician does, you come after the politician. But when persons are concerned about the way the banks are behaving, they don’t approach the banks or other industries. But the voice of the people is just as powerful with the banks and other financial entities as it is with the government,” Premier Fahie said on a recent edition of the Umoja radio show.

Fahie, who is the Minister of Finance, continued: “If persons realise the power they have with the banks; if they all decide ‘we are pulling out our money and we’re not doing business’, unity is the key to any success. It’s not threatening anyone but everyone has to come to the table in this COVID-19 — government, banks, entrepreneurs. Nobody should be coming to make a profit out of this,” Premier Fahie explained.

He added that his government continues to lobby local banks to change their credit systems to make it possible for small business owners to access loans.

“We’re also going to have more meetings with our banks – how do we move towards making sure we have small loans for businesses to help our people. All persons – including banks – must change their policies in this COVID era. So telling us that persons are delinquent, it would be impossible for most people not to be,” Premier Fahie argued.

In September 2020, Premier Fahie lashed the territory’s banking sector, saying some need to do a better job at creating “stimulus” programmes to assist residents during these hard times.

He said since COVID-19 started affecting the BVI, he has written to the banks twice to ask if they can adjust some systems to ease the financial burden on residents.

According to the Premier, some banks have agreed while others haven’t given a positive response on the matter.
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