After a two-year process and a few strokes of a pen, the BVI Social Security Board (SSB) officially became the latest shareholder of the National Bank of the Virgin Islands (NBVI).
In a brief ceremony in Road Town today, officials from the Social Security Board inked a $15 million contract with the National Bank, making that investment a first for the SSB in a local financial institution.
The move was made possible through the recent passing of the Development Bank of the Virgin Islands Transfer of Assets and Liabilities (Amendment) Act 2017, which allows statutory bodies such as the SSB and companies that have been incorporated locally to become shareholders in the bank.
Before today, the Government of the Virgin Islands was the sole shareholder of the bank.
Chairman of the SSB, Ian Smith said the partnership will allow for improvements to National Bank’s infrastructure and services, as well as additional funds to lend to the public.
“The BVI Social Security Board did its due diligence and the NBVI was deemed viable and negotiations began,” Smith said.
He said a team was contracted to conduct a valuation report of the NBVI following the decision in 2015 to invest more funds locally.
While delivering remarks at the function, Premier and Minister for Finance Dr D Orlando Smith said the people of the Virgin Islands continue to admire the ingenuity, sound investments, and management of the Social Security Board.
He said he was “grateful” that the Board saw the bank as a substantial long-term investment, adding that he believes the move further demonstrates the two organisations long-held and shared vision of building a better Virgin Islands.
“This partnership brings added benefits to National Bank. It is a wise investment for BVI Social Security Board, but I also see this partnership as an excellent opportunity for the residents of this territory to further benefit from this type of collaboration.”
In further underscoring the importance of the investment, Premier Smith said the NBVI will now be able to compete with other financial institutions in the territory.
“I am confident that both the financial and technical resources of the Social Security Board will significantly assist National Bank in realising its strategic mission of supporting the development of Virgin Islanders and residents in business and their personal lives,” he said.
The Premier took the opportunity to ask both parties to support residents and businesses to help them invest in developing homes, building businesses, and creating financial stability.
Chairman of the National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Clarence Faulkner was also pleased with the $15 million slated to be pumped into the bank.
Faulkner said he now sees an ‘easier road ahead’.
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