‘Sheep to the slaughter!’ Fraser slams local banks for mistreatment
Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has suggested that despite the alleged mistreatment being meted out to their customers, residents are stuck with local banks.
Fraser argued in the House of Assembly (HOA) that complaints are being made that banks are not responding to the needs of the people, yet lawmakers are discussing legislation that would ensure that certain banks are made ’too big to fail’.
“We need to have a conscience, and that conscience is to serve the people of this territory,” Fraser stated.
According to the Third District Representative, when banks are foreclosing on people’s properties, refusing to finance projects, and to give debt relief to residents in favour of foreclosure, the government has a responsibility to step in.
Fraser also protested that legislation is coming to the House to be passed for multiple readings without proper assessment by lawmakers.
“We’ll do it because we understand. We understand that our economy is tied to the business of financial services. We understand that and there are times when these things have to be done,” he said. “But we can no longer continue to turn a blind eye on our banks. No. Our people are like sheep being led to the slaughter when it comes to banks. They have no choice, absolutely no choice.”
Fraser said big banks have already left the jurisdiction because of de-risking. “You can’t find a Scotiabank you can’t find a Barclays bank, they pulled out, we’re too small. And in came the other banks that are here, and they’re squeezing us, squeezing our people. We don’t have a choice. What else are you going to do?” he asked.
“You can’t keep your money in the mattress for too long. It doesn’t grow interest, and your neighbour might steal it,” Fraser argued.
He insisted that there is a wrong that is going on with the banks and said legislators need to be reminded they need to step in and right that wrong. “This financial services has a responsibility to regulate those banks, and whatever is not right, it’s their duty to fix,” he said.
Banks lying to residents
Fraser also accused the local banks of lying to their clients and not fulfilling promises that they made to them.
“You’re sitting before the officer, and he’s telling you something or she’s telling you something, it sounds good – ‘that’s exactly why I came here, I got what I wanted’ – you leave the bank, and they squeeze you, who do you go to?“ Fraser asked.
The legislator said this is the reason the Financial Services Commission (FSC) is in place, and argued that if they fail, then it is the duty of the Minister of Finance to address the problem.