The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the ECCU Bankers’ Association have carefully reviewed the current circumstances in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and have revised their support programme to help reduce the anxiety that some customers and residents continue to experience over the loss of income due to the pandemic.
The unprecedented situation that we recognised in March 2020 has not yet shown signs of significant improvement, and more lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the significant downturn in our economies, especially relating to the Tourism Sector on which the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union so heavily relies. Consequently, we have taken the collective decision to maintain the support programme, as we continue to navigate the pandemic together.
We have noted that although most of our member countries are beginning to re-open their borders utilising a phased approach, the pandemic continues to negatively impact individuals and businesses across the region. The ECCB supports the ECCU Bankers’ Association extension of the current moratorium to as much as 12 months, where considered necessary. Going forward, the loan repayment deferral programme (moratorium) will be based on an assessment of the financial condition of customers. In their sole discretion, banks in the ECCU region will consider extension requests up to a maximum period of 12 months from 1 October 2020. In addition to the deferral of loan repayments, a waiver of late fees and charges will be applicable to eligible customers during this period.
Each member bank will advise its customers of the details and process for the support programme, however some basic guidelines for granting of the moratorium will apply. These include:
- Consideration for extensions shall be based on a review and assessment of the customers’ circumstances by the Bank and a request/application for extension by the customer.
- Banks will monitor the customers’ circumstances on an ongoing basis during the given period of the moratorium.
- The terms and conditions of the moratorium granted shall allow the Bank, in consultation with the customer, to curtail the moratorium should the customer’s improved circumstances merit such action.
- Banks will, at the time of arranging the extension, assess and discuss with customers the options for restructuring the loan at the end of the moratorium, especially treatment of the accumulated interest.
- Households whose income has been negatively impacted will be treated on a case by case basis.
- All business owners whose income has been negatively impacted will be treated on a case by case basis.
Customers in need of this support programme are encouraged to contact their financial institution directly for more information, as processes may differ.
Customers of all financial institutions are strongly encouraged to continue to use digital, online, and electronic services as much as possible. As in all situations, customers must exercise due care and attention including protecting passwords and keys. Please do not share them with anyone.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and ECCU Bankers Association remain resolute in fulfilling our duty to protect the wellbeing of customers and residents through sound advice, products and appropriate regulatory responses that secure our financial stability and position us for a strong recovery and financial future.
We are resilient. Let us all continue to work together. We shall overcome.