LETTER: Banks – The New Elite

Dear Sir,
I am angry that we seem to have classes of workers in Antigua, with some greater than some. I heard the Bankers Association on ABS say that neither Gaston Browne nor the Government can instruct them to go back to work.
It is the money of ordinary Antiguans and Barbudans that have made their banks and given them their jobs.
It is Papa Bird, the ATLU and the ALP that fought the colonial powers of the time to get the first black employee in a bank, Royal Bank.So have we now replaced the colonial high coloured elite with a black banking elite?
Bank employees were the first to be told by employers that they would lose neither salary nor benefits during this pandemic.
Are bank employees better than other essential workers who have kept us alive? Better than health workers, supermarket workers, security guards, bus drivers, sanitation workers, APUA workers, Police and Army personnel and so on?
And bank workers are paid higher than all of those categories, maybe with the exception of doctors.
What is happening here is that the banks are trying to force the population to use ATMs and online banking. That is all and the regular bank staff is too stupid to realise that after this pandemic, they will all be out of work because the banks would have achieved their objective to get more people to use these devices and not go into the bank.
Lets get this straight. This is not about safety. This is not about protecting workers. This is pure, hard business. Force the population to conform.
Last week many pensioners and employees who were paid by cheque went hungry as they could not get cheques changed due to the long, long, long lines. We are a cash based country as the lines demonstrated.
How can the government decide or dictate which category of business can be opened in this Emergency but cannot dictate to banks?
Maybe we need a quick convening of Parliament to make banks an essential service. I hope all MPs will be overwhelming in their support.
Banks cannot be allowed to hold us ransom for our own hard earned money.
Really angry,
Reds Campbell

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  1. Even if the government decide or dictate as you have said they cant be forced to open. Simple Sense.

  2. The Government does not control the Banks in Antigua and Barbuda.Reds Campbell do your research and see.The Bankers Association is quite right in their discourse.

  3. And this is the sad part. We, as a country, never migrated to moving our business online. I can only assume we didn’t do it due to the act that some persons in our society would become redundant, but at the very least we should have had the option of doing many thigs online insteadof going directly to the business places and standing in lines. Therefore, we would not need to go to the transport board, or the banks, etc.

    I still find it amazing that a person can’t sit behind a computer, and transfer money to another bank right here in Antigua.

    Now I perfectly understand what the author of this letter is saying, but I think that we should have been doing things a long time ago.

    Even paying bills for APUA, I still don’t understand how the company does not have its own dedicated website for receiving payments, and not having to rely on the banks banking system for example, to pay bills without going into a line. for senior citizens who are using the vouchers for their bills, APUA should have had in place system where the voucher number can be entered online, and then the customer gets the discount. this technology isn’t new after all.

    We simply were not prepared, and that is what is hurting people at this time.

    For those who need to deposit cheques at the ATM, I’m really sorry for the inconvenience, but we have to blame our successive governments and the banking system for not getting into the modern era and making the ease of doing business in our country more convenient.

  4. The Central Bank controls the banks, not the government. Banking Act 2015. But good points though. I share the same sentiments.

  5. Banks sucks!! They are many reasons why people don’t use online banking, but the number one reason is lack of security, if you don’t believe me go to the darknet and you will have an idea what I am talking about.People like to sleep at night and know that their money is safe and not been stolen by some online hackers because they used online banking. If you want people to use your service, you must educate them and make them feel comfortable. You all are a dying breed, that is why the canadians are pulling out and cryptocurrencies will take over. Young people, this is an opportunity for you to create better service than the banks and see them out of business. They is only one rule of business serve the people or go bankrupt.

  6. These banks are here as the guest of the People and the People’s Government. They are not the replacement for the corrupt plantocracy. Massa day finish here. Gaston going to have a good talk with them, and show them who is in charge here. Those foreigners could easily be replaced. In addition to our local banks and credit unions, there are many friendly countries who would be glad to replace them.

  7. I am sure when the workers start getting paid depending on how often they work that they will GLADLY open more frequently. Just you wait. How much longer can they continue to operate like how they are now?

    • The bank employees don’t have to go back to work because they are being paid with the depositors’ money. The banks can pay no interest and charge large fees for their services. They even charge for having an account with them. Do you notice that banks never loose money?

      • Shame:
        Which Bank charges you for having an account with them? I am not aware so please tell me and only me.

  8. I am amazed at this article and the comments attached. Firstly, the bankers association did not go on the media and make no such a claim, secondly bank workers have already been laid off and more to come…nobody is safe!!!! Thirdly, when these employees were having meaningful conversations with their clients about utilizing their online channels just in case of days like these you scoffed. But bank employees’ families are to be put in danger everyday just so that you can come in everyday and withdraw $15

    • The banks can provide the employees with masks and gloves. Aren’t the supermarkets employees working even though they are exposed to the public every day?

    • Finally someone with common sense.

      My question is since when has it become so easy to publish inaccurate and deceiving information ?

      In an age where education is free there should never be this much ignorance in our society.

  9. What is the sense in having a “lockdown” to combat the spread of covid-19 when the citizens wish to have financial institutions, supermarkets, beauty supply stores, KFC and the like remain open every day for their pleasure??

    What part of STAY HOME don’t we understand? Yes, of course we must have access to essential services in order to survive. However, opening banks every day does not mean that persons will come once a week or that lines will get shorter. The lines were never short lines to begin with!!

    Be wise, use sense and utilize the means provided to do banking from the comfort of your home and with limited interaction with other persons. The banks are still open for a few reasons, some include but are not limited to: business places conducting large deposits and withdrawals etc, accommodating senior citizens and others who really cannot be forced to utilize online methods and other persons who require special circumstances to conduct their transactions…..not for 30 yr old John or Mary who have a phone/laptop and can very well access an ATM card but still want to stand in a long line, come into a branch and withdraw $50 and then complain.

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