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Christopher calls for ‘nicer’ bank relationship

Christopher

Christopher. File photo

Karia Christopher, who heads the Department of Trade and Investment Promotions, has added her voice to that raising concern about the relationship challenges that exist between businesses and banks in the British Virgin Islands.

She said her department has been trying to ensure the relationship improves.

“From where I sit, we understand that the small businesses and the banks in the Virgin Islands have a relationship that needs to be a little nicer – and I believe that it is because of ignorance.”

“And so we are here to try to put a Band Aid between both [the businesses and the banks]. Most of us, when we go to the bank, is like going to the dentist. We get nervous; we start to sweat; we don’t want to ever hear ‘no’; we don’t know if we can afford to get the loan payments; we struggle to pay the loan,” Christopher told journalists this morning (April 3) during the launch of Trade Entrepreneurial Week.

Over the years, lawmakers in the British Virgin Islands have been calling for banks to improve their services not only to entrepreneurs, but to the general public.

During the just-concluded budget debate in the House of Assembly, for example, Junior Minister of Trade and Investment Promotions Marlon Penn said he wants banks that over-charge customers to be reported to the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

“There is an issue of how the banks are charging – the fee structure. It is something that we need to raise with the FSC. These issues that surround these institutions need to be brought up with the relevant agency which is the FSC, to deal with this issue surrounding the banks and how they treat business,” Penn recently told the House.

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