BVI News

Smith says retail banks are lending

Deputy Premier and Labour Minister Lorna Smith

Deputy Premier and Labour Minister Lorna Smith said she has been getting positive reports from banks about lending and their support for small businesses, contrary to complaints made by members of the public.

Smith said she received complaints in the past that banks are not doing enough lending and are not interested in supporting business development.

But in meetings with the banks to discuss how they could better support businesses and business development, the minister said she has been hearing a different story over the time since she was elected.

“At least two of our banks — one of them very popular, I might say — they do offer significant assistance for business development, especially for small businesses,” Smith told the House of Assembly.

She added: “When I’ve asked for details in terms of what this money could be used for, I’ve been given examples such as heavy equipment for business startups, for starting your car rental businesses, beauty salons, buying new taxis, and so on.”

According to Smith, persons can obtain as much as $50,000 in unsecured loans from at least two of the banks, and she commented that some have even made it easier for persons to apply.

“Some of these banks allow you to — it’s not a lot of money, but it’s a start — get unsecured [loans] … Some banks have an online facility so you can apply without leaving your office or your home,” she stated.

The minister said she particularly liked the facility, which some banks offered where, based on the information that applicants provide, persons can be assisted in shaping a business plan.

The minister also pointed to instances where she felt there could be improvements with the banks in the territory, particularly in the area of their attitude when issuing loans.

“I do accept that individuals in the banks can be slow, they can be bureaucratic, and they can be indifferent,” Smith explained. “There is no doubt about it that there are some individuals who are that way.”

She remarked that sadly, some persons do not realise that because of their attitude of slowness and indifference, this can make the difference in terms of making the financing available to a business or help to save a floundering business.

“It could make it (the business) go under forever. They do not understand that should they not make decisions promptly and efficiently that they contribute to the end of a business,” the Deputy Premier said.

However, Smith said she was encouraged and will continue to be positive and hopeful, and will work with banks to change that attitude.


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  1. Principles says:

    Local bankers (all ranks senior and junior level staff) sometimes tend to be very ‘pigish’, judgmental and unprofessional to folks (educated and uneducated). Service like this can force brain drain and migration. This type of service does not encourage good relations or lending.

    Like 12
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  2. yes they're lending says:

    theyre are lending money to your family, don’t be confuse

    Like 20
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  3. LB says:

    Pure BS! None of these banks have small business loan managers! In order to get a small business loan of $100k you will have to put up $100k in assets or cash as surety! The banks are assuming zero risk! Business plans are useless to them. They do not look at the viability of the business. They only look at the surety! Ask the banks how many business loans they have given to new or start up business of under $100k then ask them how much of the amount was secured! Stop the madness!

    Like 20
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  4. Banks are not opening/closing accounts says:

    R Bank just closed a friends account without warning, after many days the reason given is ‘voluntary closure’. Low income earner so i suspect average balance not high enough for the bank to profit.

    Case 2 – FC – Reputable financial services company following up re bank account after 6 months – told it would be better to go elsewhere.

    Case 3 – Unemployed 18 year old – refused account until starts working/has SSB card

    Pure BS that the banks are doing better

    Like 6
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  5. Action man alone says:

    Lending to who?

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  6. SMH! says:

    @LB – totally agree with you on this. If you have a company that has a track record why borrowers always have to put up security? Why don’t local banks register a charge or encumbrance on the shares of the company?

  7. Big lie!!!!! says:

    Ask the banks to show you the actual approvals and not word of mouth. Especially your local bank that has persons waiting 9,8,7months for a decline response. How are they developing small business owners. Please list which bank is granting these great services that we can pay them a visit.

  8. The Issue is. says:

    Who do you believe, the people or the banks.? Who vote you in Power, the people are bank. The bank is a low risk business of profit and they usually lend to friends who already have it.. Can’t trust them..

    Like 6
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  9. Licher and Sticher Good …. Like your salary depended on it says:

    Luarna in the Corna trying to convince ppl that she cares. Awwww. She needs that nap and warm howl of oatmeal. She is feckless AF

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  10. Banker says:

    The bottom line is that, in any country, small business loans are hugely risky. It’s not that people’s ideas or business plans aren’t good – it’s just that such businesses don’t have the capacity to withstand external threats until they have been established for many years. There are many BVI businesses that have benefited from small business loans in the past and Unite BVI provides unsecured micro loans and excellent business advice.

    In general, all BVI banks have a lot of liquidity that they’d love to lend. Like so many places, however, banks do NOT lend just against security. The quality of the borrower, their business plans and potential market are all vital. Sadly, the BVI is often too small a market for many businesses to be viable.

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    • LB says:

      You talking crap like the manager of a bank is supposed to. Why are you looking at the quality of the person when what is being presented is a business? A duly formed company with a trade licence and possibly share certificates. You should be looking at the viability of the business within the economy. You all don’t even make the decisions here and have to send the application off to head offices in Rico or Barbados or elsewhere. The first thing the bank asks for is your 100% surety after you fill out tons of paperwork. They do not review your business plan at all! So stop it! None of the banks have economists working in them to be able to assess how viable a small business start up is. None!

      In America you can go to the bank, even with bad personal credit and get a start up business loan with limited security once the business plan is solid. Banks there actually take risk and do economic assessments. Not BVI though! Just a bunch of glorified secretaries and paper pushers posing as so called bankers!

  11. Congratulations says:

    Hon. Smith is doing an excellent job to encourage improvements in the banks and the business community. She’s also working hard to increase efficiency in Government to make processes more business friendly. There’s a lot to be done, but at least she is doing something, unlike many other politicians in the past. Kudos Lorna. Not everyone will be happy, but no progress has been made anywhere without someone being upset. Keep at it Lorna.

    Like 1
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    • Tongue Fu says:

      @ Congratulations

      You are saying that she is doing an excellent job at encouraging improvements between the banks and the business community based on what exactly? A meeting behind closed doors with the banks? Then after that meeting she comes to this conclusion:

      “At least two of our banks — one of them very popular, I might say — they do offer significant assistance for business development, especially for small businesses,” Smith told the House of Assembly.”

      Now this mind you is without any data to support how she arrived at that including the Premier. This is not how you arrive at a conclusion. You have to gather data then speak to both sides and if possible get them into a room together so you you can let them clarify any misunderstandings and sort any concerns.

      Yes she has talked about electronic transformation of the labor department, and streamlining the process so that the permit process is more efficient which we welcome. Again talk as we wait for substance.

      Like 5
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  12. Huh says:

    The banks need to enforce against the numerous non-performing loans before they hit negative equity. If the Court can demonstrate that they will support the banks when persons don’t pay then the banks will be more confident to lend to others.

    Like 4
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  13. @ TONGUE FU says:

    Give the lady a break nuH , at least she is trying UNLIKE THOSE WHO AINT EVEN MAKING AN EFFORT / and back to U , even in this Christmas season you and your WIG just have to express your negative mentality on other people ,4 goodness sake , get a life , and come forward to reality / we are in the 21st century

    • Anonymous says:

      She as feckless AF and a waste of a vote

    • Tongue Fu says:

      @@Tongue Fu

      Why is it everyone who posts something critical is considered negative and must be W*? You ever thought for a moment that they are other persons who have a differing point of view and wish to express their views?

      Now again the Minister is doing what all Ministers before her have done: Drawing conclusions without the requisite data. How difficult it is to ask the banks to provide data on all loans given to small businesses whether start up or already operational. Perhaps I am frustrated of this way of doing business and expect better from her.

      BTW i voted for her so yes I believe i am entitled to ask her tough questions. I do not support blindly.

      Also why would JW try to undermine the Government he supports?


    Is saying )> am saying it to you all again , I can only do my best witqh what I got to work with / and I cannot perform miracles

  15. Really says:

    Why tou did not give the name of the banks . That is top priority. You failed to gove specifocs . Why

  16. All Branco pops atm says:

    Not working again , loans who cares I’d just like to get to my own money without queuing for two hours in the Sun!

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