In light of the continuous financial challenges being faced due to COVID-19, Premier Andrew Fahie has once again written to several local banks asking them to consider further relaxing a number of their policies for residents.
Speaking in a recent session of the House of Assembly, Premier Fahie said the letter specifically addressed areas such as mortgages for first-time homeowners, loans for home construction, loans to assist existing and start-up small and medium-sized businesses, and a request to extend the loan moratorium period up to one year.
“What is being offered by some banks, while it is very good, it is still lagging behind their competitors. So, we are asking them to review and reconsider their position and to see how they can improve and become more competitive. Customers benefit when there is competition in the market,” he stated.
Second request for one-year moratoriums
Fahie, who is also the Minister of Finance, said only the National Bank of the Virgin Islands had instituted a one-year moratorium after the first letter he sent to local banks back in May.
The Premier said he sent follow-up letters requesting moratorium policies that extend up to one year on July 1.
“I thank them (the banks) for what they do in this territory and I ask them to do their best to facilitate our request for the one-year moratorium on credit repayments, along with any other areas that we have mentioned before,” he stated.
“Please work with our people in these difficult times. Do allow your policies to adjust so that they can be applicable to the realities on the ground at this time,” the Premier urged banks.
Banks immediately responded to first plea
In April, Premier Fahie had pleaded with banks in the territory to suspend payments owed by customers experiencing hardships because of the pandemic.
Days after his plea, six banks across the territory responded by announcing that they were offering various moratorium packages to their customers, with some lasting up to six months.
These banks included FirstBank, Banco Popular, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, VP Bank, Republic Bank (formerly Scotiabank), and CIBC First Caribbean International Bank.