The Caribbean Association of Banks Inc. (CAB) is proud to represent the interests and concerns of the Caribbean banking and financial services industry. We recognise the critical role played by the industry in the facilitation of business and trade which underpins the growth of our economies. It is with consideration of the previous, that we wish to state our recognition of the frustrations articulated by members of the public (our valued customers and clients) regarding the expressed onerous requirements and lengthy processing times of banking services throughout the region. These grievances, while commonly shared by private and commercial customers alike, appear to be more acute for business owners of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). Noting that the Caribbean is comprised primarily of developing countries in which MSMEs contribute significantly to economic activity, it is imperative that the region’s banking and financial services industry fosters an enabling environment to support these businesses.
The CAB is encouraged by the efforts undertaken in various jurisdictions such as the development of moveable-asset based lending which seeks to improve access to finance particularly for entrepreneurs of MSMEs. Additionally, the increased utitlisation of technology to facilitate banking services has resulted in increased levels of efficiency with the need to stand in line at a physical institution greatly reduced. We therefore encourage the public to maximise the related options available such as online and mobile banking to conduct transactions when and wherever most convenient which cover a wide range of solutions including but not limited to deposits, withdrawals, transfers between accounts to third party transfers, salary payments, payment of utility bills, wire transfers, top ups etc. However, it should be noted that the latter has been met with a degree of reticence from some customer segments.
As we continue to advance the dialogue related to the unintended consequences of de-risking, a key pain point that is anticipated to be remedied is the need to satisfy extensive requirements at new account openings with specific mention of commercial accounts. Given the detrimental and far-reaching impacts of financial exclusion, any activity that proves to be prohibitive (exclusive of those required to meet regulatory and compliance requirements) to an individual’s or entity’s participation in the formal banking system should be revisited as a matter of importance. A proactive approach to the just stated, which focuses on the mitigation of redundancies and the streamlining of processes is therefore essential to the enhancement of customer engagement and loyalty.
The CAB remains committed to the support of the region’s banking and financial services industry and will continue to play its part in keeping the industry proactive, protected and profitable.