Continue To Pay Your Loans If You Can Says Bankers’ Association President

Michael Spencer, General Manager ECAB

President of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union  Bankers’ Association Michael Spencer has told customers who can to continue to pay their loans to do so.

“If you can, continue to pay continue to pay because it reduces the amount to have to pay at the end of the period,” he told a Central Bank programme.

Banks have offered six (6) months moratorium on principle payment but customers are expected to pay the interest.

Spencer says customers should indicate to their bank whether they want to opt out of the moratorium arrangement or whether they will participate.

“We are working with you. Persons should not feel isolated, they should not feel that they ought not to pay the loan. Don’t just not pay the loan, approach your bank , speak to your loans officer, and that person would be more than happy to explain to you the best approach to take,” Spencer who is also the General Manager of ECAB said.

He reminded customer that the obligation is still there at the end of the moratorium period, the interest will continue to accrue during the moratorium period.

However, Spencer said the banks will work with the customer even after the six months moratorium.

“What we will do at the end of that period is work with the customer to ensure that the payment at the end of the moratorium period would be no more than the period pre-covid. Each case will differ, your baker will work with you depending on your own circumstance depending on your financial position at the time. they will work with you to ensure that your payment continues to be manageable, comfortable through the extension of the loan for an additional six months, it may be restructured for a longer period of time.”

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  1. Banks the biggest ripp-off in this country and perhaps in the caribbean fir that matter. They figure that every customer is dunce not able to calculate loan annuity for themselves and they always fall back on the system. The loan agent themselves have no clue whether or not the system gave them the right figures. I always have taught my staff, garbage in garbage out. And it doesn’t matter if someone present you with a computerized invoice or a statement, the onus is on you to recalculate and make sure the figures are correct. Especially the totals at the end. Now let me see what the bank manager is saying. You get a moratorium on the principal but not on the interest. I guess he knows the principal is where the interest is calculated on and that is why many customers with loans are so surprised that after 10 or even 15 years of having paid a mortgage they see the principal as if it hasn’t moved. The interest is the profit the revenue that the bank makes and the banks don’t seen to want to lose not a cent in revenue. We have gone through the take over of the ABI Bank loans. Who ever thought it would have worked out to be such a scam. Yes the bank took over the loan, but not from where you left. They only took the principle and started ALL over again. So lets say you had a mortgage with ABIB for 25 years. You had paid 15 years into the mortgage and everyone knows the way they calculate the interest as a spread over the 25 years is that the major part of the interest is paid in the early years, therefore the principle is hardly moved. But you look forward to the latter years in order to start moving the principle down. That was the trick ECAB did. Everyone started their mortgage with ECAB afresh. And again your interest is calculated paying the major part upfront and only in the latter part the principle would go down. This is like double payment of interest on the same mortgage. So instead of a 25 years mortgage you now have perhaps a 30-35 years mortgage. And given the new interest rates which are much lower than then, they will not automatically reduce your interest rates to make you benefit and if you choose to go in and do so, you will soon find out how much penalty you have to pay and closing cost and other legal fees. I say the banks are a big ripp-off and it is time for governments to have a watchdog in place that can challenge these practices on the masses behalf. Individually we will never win. I’ve tried it. I have challenged many of their practices and sometimes they have credit me but that was me alone. Let me give you another example. The Stanford Receivers owe the former workers severance pay to include interest on an annual basis. They went to the court and got permission to pay off the principal amount. So without the principal there is no interest accruing. And having done so they now can take their time to pay off the interest. You think you can do that to the bank. Pay off the principal and then take your time to pay of the interest. If that were so well may people would be very happy.
    Therefore by Mr. Spencer telling you he is working with you to stretch your mortgage for 6 month but you still will have to pay the Interest is double dipping. He want to have the Interest twice calculated on the same principal. Unless the bank will fixed the loan schedule and stop the interest from accruing. Thereby at the end you will not pay a dime more in interest as was calculated at the beginning. Let him put that in writing than we can truly say the bank is working with you. And it is very simple, cause at the start of the loan they set the interest rare and the period and one can count the total interest of every period. So you know what you are paying for interest above principal over the years. That calculation makes you really sick when you are faced with it. Most times is three times the amount you borrowed. Reason why somany people are very much afraid to take out a mortgage and rather build out of pocket. As cash comes available. I would ask banks to for once take a haircut. Lessen your interest rates Cash is cheap these days. All you make your money on is FEES.

    • See you attacking my good friend and former colleague . Agree with you that persons need to be taught that especially for personal consumption, don’t borrow. If you do, try and pay back early. In doing that ensure you utilize a bank that does not penalize you for doing such (Recall ACB having penalties for early payment). The entity they have now taken over RBC, did not penalize persons for such.These days, seems to me the credit unions are doing a better job in terms of really looking out for customers. Perhaps its due to the model, where said customer is also a owner. Brethren as a share holder, its also your duty to push these local banks from being such leeches (eg stop imposing penalties on early payments)

    • Well said. You’re firing shots today. The student loan product is another rip off where these banks double dip on the interest. They are in need of adult supervision.

  2. Another thing I wanted to tell Mr. Spencer. You inherited a beautiful well maintained building from the Stanford Group. In just over ten years you have let the maintenance of the building deteriorate the building and the building looks filthy. I mean I guess you do not have an eye for detail. I mostly go to the drive thru teller and the shoots are so filthy even the clear plastic shoots are now covered with cobweb and the wood in the ceiling outside is rotting. The parking lot oh gosh man. You cannot fix the potholes. I mean your bank makes lots of money. And if that is your Head Office lets show some pride and keep the building what a Head Office all over the world is all about. Show the class and pride of the bank. It is sad to see. Just have your head in the books of the bank is not all. You need to show your face a bit more on the floor and interact with your customers. Come out of your Ivory Tower. You’re lucky Allen is not your boss, cause you would have been sitting right downstairs where the customers can see you

      • We know that. So what is your point. Have we given back the bank to the investors he defrauded. Have we sold all the properties he owned and given back all the monies to the investors he defrauded. Did we give back MJSMC to the investors. It was his loan that build it. Was the loan ever repaid???? When the fraudster was here many benefited from him. Fines Institute, Basketball Court and Simon Boulevard, Catholic Primary School, ABDB, Royal Police Force, Fire Station, and the list goes on. And I need not put figures to them.

        • I never did so I cant associate with such. You are now enlightening me. What else do yo know?

      • Tenman. I will always criticize constructively. Not that I am right all the time, its just the way I see thing. Anyway perhaps if he hears things from you he’ll pay some more attention, but believe me I’ve brought things up with him. The thing I am disappointed in Bank managers coming out of the same group of Barclays, FCIB/CIBC is they are not entrepreneurial. That is what is the difference with Gaston. Another banker that was entrepreneurial is Mackie. Sad what happened to ABIB but he was a great banker. In a short period he build up the asset value from the bank past that of ACB and was aiming to be the largest OECS bank. But hindsight you could say he started to run before he could walk. Stanford ask Kenny once to show him how many business accounts he has brought to the bank. The answer of course was ZERO none. I could ask Michael the same thing. These fellows don’t even try to network with their clients. Take them out for dinner. And I don’t mean one on one. I mean have a bankers’ lunch or dinner once a year. And in the old days the bank managers always use to have a house party for his high networth clients. Even companies like C&W use to do so. I have been to many parties with managers like Rob Sherman. Or take your clients out to golf. It’s about building client relationship. And when it comes to the ordinary customer, no one could even tell you who the manager is. All they know are the girls on the floor. Even on customer appreciation day they are in their offices hiding behind books. Stanford has tought us that appearance matter. And that is seen all over the world. Just look at the Airport grounds. Why would a man that is in offshore banking be concerned about how his surroundings looks like. It’s about first impression. And bankers like Michael have no clue about these things. You know another company that put alot of emphasis in appearance is Sandals, and Barrett. And I don’t think Dessaline meant the new Epicurean. I believe he means Cost Pro. And I understand what is going on there. The owner is trying to run all of his businesses personally and is not putting locals in charge at all. But that’s another story. The point is that General Managers these days should be more of a Marketing/PR Manager than a bookworm. For that purpose you hire top beancounters. You have to be entrepreneurial. Always look for ways t grow the business. And improving customer relationship. Customer loyalty. I have an account with BOA from the day they opened on Airport Road. Cause I was attracted by the building and everything surrounded it. I knew Kenny from Barclays but like with everything GM coming from Barclays had limited authority. And they never really run the bank. Barbados did. I have since ECAB took over threatened to move my account on several occasions. Same thing with C&W. I’m with them from since Boatphone and now FLOW I’m so tempted to move my account. But to whom. I don’t like Digicel’s customer service either. And APUA!! Well they are coming along. But as you also say the board needs to demand these things from their manager. If not the manager will think he/she is doing a great job. But if you ask the question how many business accounts have you personally bought to the bank? The answer is ZERO. Therefore the growth of the bank has nothing to do with them. They just were lucky to have good staff.

        • Yes I did mean Epicurean. It ain’t Costpro yet but it is well on its way , just look at the parking lot hedges, I just think our eyes have been normalized to the gradual deterioration.

          Bank managers are not entrepreneurial because the people/ board that does the hiring do not hire businessmen. They hire accountants instead. Antiguans are conditioned to think accountants mean entrepreneurs. The wanted ADs for managers always ask for a degree in accounting not factoring in that accountant only account for the money, they don’t bring it in.

    • We don’t agree on anything but you are spot on with this.

      As soon as Antiguans assume management of any institution it’s a countdown to dilapidation and ruin. Even Epicurean supermarket is turning into a ghettorized warehouse before our eyes.

      The same can be said if the country of Antigua after we got Independence – the daily garbage collection, the weekly grass cutting of the roadsides and hosting out the gutters became seasonal.

      • @Dessalines Your example of Epicurean seems a bad one. You do know its now owned by Rob Barett? He seems the same color as the former owner though I have heard no allegations of him being a pedophile. You do know that’s the reason given why the former owner ran from A&B?

        This thing you have about Antigua being better when in UK hands is rubbish, the statistics don’t reflect it. Neither does the historical record. Read a few articles by professor where he suggested we were better then at controlling mosquito & rats. He then compared us to an area in Canada. He was wrong because there are areas in Canada with the same issue. Mosquitoes are now hardier than they used to be. He also compared an area in Canada which has mostly large farms to ANU (apples and cars) Agree with you that our indigenous banks need to do a better job at customer service . However its up to us (customers & share holders) to fashion them the way we wish them to be..Think you know with the way things are headed tech wise, they will have greater competition that what banks like RBC offered them

        • Is Barrat the sole owner of Epicurean ? Are there no black men holding shares? You better go do your homework.

          I don’t need statistics to know antigua was cleaner under UK rule, I remember quite clearly.

          I do not see why the previous owner sexual predilections are an issue to you who have no problems with the pedophiles in Antigua Labour Party politics. I’m sure you voted for one before so you need to sit this one out.

  3. I heard a lady called into a radio station.She did say ACB was charging her a fee to withdraw monies from her account.I am also hearing that if someone paid off a mortgage early.That person could and or would be penalized for doing so.Another thing I am hearing about the Banks and car loans.When a car loan is paid off. You would have to pay a fee to get the title to said car.Why is that happening in Antigua.That should be illegal.The Banks hold the title and a lien is placed on the car.Until the car is paid in full.Then the title should be mailed to the customer.So why the customer has to pay to get the title.In my opinion the Banks are ripping people off in Antigua and Barbuda.You payed the loan with interests and then they ripped you off in the end.

    • People do not stand up for things that are not political. And our politicians don’t stand up for us if it is not in their benefit to do so. So I guess we are on our own, until such time that the governing party feel that they need to do something about it. But don’t wait on Pringle or Harold to say something. You have a better chance if your lobby Gaston on this.

  4. @from the sideline from the first few words you uttered on here i thought the same thing

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