LETTER: Why Are Banks Still Not Fully Open?

Customers outside ECAB on April 9, 2020

Dear Editor,

It is now clear to me that the restrictions placed on banking hours had nothing to do with COVID-19. In fact, it proved to me that the banking cabal in this country never really cared about their customers.

Given the progress which has been made regarding COVID-19 you’d have thought by now that banks would have announced the resumption of normal banking hours. The banking hours before COVID-19 were already limited. It’s been three weeks now since the banks are operating four hours a day and longer if you count the period when they only opened two days a week.

I say this is highly unacceptable. The restriction on banking hours can no longer be justified now that the local economy has opened up. I want to know the justification for the continued dehumanising treatment from these banks.

They must realise it is us the customers who make them and we can certainly break them. When this crisis is over, one of the things I will remember is how poorly we were treated by these local banks who collectively disregarded us.



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  1. somebody please tell this person that ppl that work at the bank are humans to they have families to go home to. Why should they be exposed for more than hrs they already operating.

    • So their lives are more important that supermarket workers who have been serving these bank workers all during covid? This is a silly argument!

        The supermarkets have their procedures of lining up and only allowing certain amount of people in at a time and the banks have their procedures which is limited service and they close at 12 and other business places I’m sure have similar procedures so it’s just a matter of us adapting. But I guess some of us are just better at that.

  2. Banks have for a long time been trying to cut costs by getting customers out of the bank buildings and into online banking. They can then cut staff and branches thereby cutting costs. Covid 19 is the perfect excuse to force customers online. Make in-bank banking a difficult and exhausting experience with long lines outside of the bank and limited hours and thereby force customers to choose to use online banking. Voila!

  3. It’s really sad that you feel this way however you have to not only think of yourself as a customer but think of the bank workers… I have an account at almost every Bank on the island and I do not go into the bank’s for anything. Antiguans need to realize the way of the world is changing. How is it dehumanizing when they clearly offer you other options of doing the exact same thing in the safety of your home, the banks are looking out for their customers and also their staff they have to strike a balance. The country has not tested enough persons so we really do not know where covid-19 is in terms of true numbers so they have to stay safe. You people need to be fair and learn to adapt.

    • Why are you people putting bank workers on a pedestal? As if their jobs and their lives are more important than ours! Give me an aspirin! Workers from all sectors of life have gone back to work to serve these very bank employees.! Silly, minimalist. classist arguments. When last you tried signing up for online banking? Its as hard as if you were setting up a new bank account. So don’t come here with no online banking argument.

      • I totally agree with you, they on some BS and the ppl that support them with their “you know what” on the same level. We are all human here bank workers and customers we’re exposed to the same environ daily, this is business and without us there’s no need for the banks, can so please Mr or miss bank owner (s) free up so ppl can do their businesses as well

  4. No justififiable explanation can be offered. What makes that category of workers so much more special than any other, apart from the fact that they are among the better paid and work in comfy surroundings? ÌThey use the people’s money to grow their own businesses but don’t give a damn about the poeple that feed them! No excuse. Out of door activities are now permitted until 9:00pm

  5. People will adapt and when they do we probably will not need any banks. Digital currencies is the future and your cellphone will be your bank. So let them continue to treat their customers like dogs and they will see who have the last laugh. They are probably saying people still have to use their services because they have loans mortgages tie up with them, but let them know when Facebook Libra comes on stream, they will probably buy up all the loans and mortgages for people destroying these banks once and for all.

    The supermarkets have their procedures of lining up and only allowing certain amount of people in at a time and the banks have their procedures which is limited in-branch service and they close at 12 and other business places I’m sure have similar procedures so it’s just a matter of us adapting. But I guess some of us are just better at that while others are good at dividing and putting people against one another. Lets think rational and please DON’T BE STUPID.

  7. Banks are frustrated with many of you people coming in after 8 to draw off $25.00 and you all want come back before the same day end to draw off $20.00.

    • Can go as many times as want to and “draw off” whatever amount wanted. A who blastid money e belangz to?? The president of the bankers association needs to climb down off his high horse.

      • You sound silly just as silly as all the others talking about pedastal. IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME SOMEONE CONSIDERED THE BANK STAFF who would usually are 1st ones in last ones out. If you feel this strongly take your damn money and bury it in your yard. People NEVER know what’s going on behind the scenes yet have the most to say.

        • Same way you do not seem to understand how the customer feels. And as far as I understand business, its about your customers. Without them where will you be. It is their money that pays for your salary. And if people are frustrated with the shorter opening hours, than banks needs to do something about it. That is if they care about their customers. But I’ll bet you they don’t give a damn. Just look at the exorbitant fees they charge you. Before time banks use o make their money by giving our loans. Nowadays it is the fees that make the most revenues. Just check their financial statements. Not even investment income brings in much money anymore.

      • @ Have Mercy…the most you can do is to attack because rational thinking has trumped your stupidity in thinking. Even though it is your money whether obtained by legal or illegal means there is a cost associated with you all coming 3, 4 times in one day.

    • I mentioned this weeks ago and people here said “ah fu dem money”. Smh. One would be surprised how many silly transactions people go inside the bank for. Transactions that can be done at the ATM or at a merchant using a debit card.

  8. I agree, everyone else is out there working serving those bank workers! The bank mangers and the shareholders are using this to push people to online banking and the stupid bank employee’s are buying it, soon they will be looking work! The banks need our money, they don’t realize it and they treating us like dogs having us lining up every day! SMH!

    • @Antiguan….you are the one who need the bank don’t be fooled. What other realistic option you have to “store” your money apart from a bank or credit union…and please dont even mention keeping it at home!

      • You can store euros or crypto on NEXO and get up to 8% interest. There are also other crypto services who offer crypto to cash and vice versa like cex.io , crypterium, utrust e.g
        Just have enough money in the bank to leave your credit card open and forget banking here at all.

    • Bank workers need to understand that less personal interaction with the customer means less work for them in the end and they will soon be made redundant. Which I have seen all over the world. Once you have opened an account that is it. Everything else goes online. Banks do not have cash and all transactions are done online. or Automatic Teller Machine. Lately you hardly know who is the manager of the bank. Because they hide in offices and never come to meat he customers on the floor or even talk to their staff.

  9. Notes From A Native Son of The Rock! “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Rahm Emanuel, Former Mayor of Chicago and Chief of Staff to President Obama!

    Clearly the local Banks are not acting in a client centered manner and taking the time and money to educate members of the population who still cling to F2F service!

    This is the opportunity that APUA I-net has been waiting for! No need to be wasting time dreaming and talking of 5G! Let’s wait for Huawei to have this creation and development covered!

    “Come, then, comrades, the European game has finally ended; we must find something different. We today can do everything, so long as we do not imitate Europe, so long as we are not obsessed by the desire to catch up with Europe.” – Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth! Digicel is on the ropes! FLOW wishes to throw in the towel!

    Yes Sir, Mr Minister, The Honourable Melford Nicholas, introduce your colleagues to electronic mobile money service that allows customers to store, send and receive money on their mobile phone! You know the high penetration of mobile phones on the Rock! The population is most familiar with paying for phone credits through vendors all over the island and with international money transfers! It should be an easy Strategic proposition to sell, action and link with ADB for B2B transactions, micro-business financing and use of ATM’s! You may be well aware that the FEDS have quarantined dollar bills from overseas for fear of infecting the population!

    As Frantz Fanon has noted, it is very true that we need a model, and that we want blueprints and examples! For many among us the European model is the most inspiring! European techniques and the European style ought no longer to tempt us and to throw us off our balance! Let us combine our money and brains in a new direction! “We continuously challenge ourselves to extend our innovative approach to problem solving and meeting the needs of our customers and society at large.” – Bob Collymore, the late Guyanese-born British businessman and the immediate Chief Executive Officer for Kenya and East Africa’s telecom giant, Safaricom!

    • Yep, time to do away with cash (well reduce it to minimum use), its holding us back. Just sad that it took covid for us to make moves we should have some 2 decades ago

      • Tenman I have no problem going cashless. Whenever I am in Europe that is what is the order of business. If you do not have a card you are in deep trouble. Even on the market they swipe your card in their smartphone. If you want to use the public bathroom in McDonald or any other place you have to swipe your card. parking lot you have to swipe your car. The only thing here is the bank charges or so high it doesn’t encourage you to go that route. Its better you have your cash in had. Or your check. An EFT from one bank to another takes three days and still cost you $20.00 per transaction. Sadly enough I had to use it regularly these days as I do not want to go stand inline at a bank or to pay my Monthly Contributions. Banks are raping us here and they say it’s because of the numbers. And their system is so outdated its not funny. When I’m out with friends in Europe and we split a bill, everyone can just transfer the funds to one person account “IMMEDIATELY” on the spot and that person can pay the bill. If your son/daughter is out and need money you can send money to them “IMMEDIATELY” so they can use their card to pay their bill. You step on a bus they don’t accept cash you have to swipe. Not even pin. Just swipe. We will never get to that point of online payment. They are a big joke around here when it comes to banking. I send money from my USA bank Bank of America to my bank account in Antigua much faster than transferring between banks here in Antigua. We are not ready yet and I’m pessimistic if we will ever be. And I have many of these managers as my friends and I keep telling them every time about their lack of good service to the people. They are overpaid number crunchers. Say what you about ABIB but were it not for the greed and the UPP burdening the bank they would have been the largest in the region and perhaps beyond.

        • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “From a sustainability perspective, “Shared Value” is an established and important concept. It highlights why sustainable business solutions are more powerful and lasting than extractive or exploitative business practices. As its name implies, the concept emphasizes how business, its stakeholders and value chains can come together and deliver products and services in a way that creates new or additional value for everyone involved.” – Bob Collymore, the late Guyanese-born British businessman and past Chief Executive Officer for Kenya and East Africa’s telecom giant, Safaricom!

          Your points are clearly understood! To bring about the needed change we need a sea change! “Covid” is pushing major behavioural changes across the globe!

          “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Rahm Emanuel, Former Mayor of Chicago and Chief of Staff to President Obama!

          The Banks are not seizing the time! They are still tied, mentally and physically, to “Scot’s Row”, “High Street” and as the politicos say “The Golden Mile” on The Plantation of the former and present slave holders offspring!

          In a time of crisis, there is a premium on bold leadership and decisive action! Hence the rational for using the Mobile Power of APUA I-Net, ADB, ATM’s, Customers, Private Business and Vendors!

          Practically every Vendor on the side of the road has a Mobile Phone! I-Net should embark on a major campaign to get the business of all engaged in commerce of any kind! A simple add on as Square Point of Sale Software moves the Business to another level! Surely we have young innovative minds who can develop such software for I-Net! Bus, Taxi Operators, small stores, shops and food sellers on an I-Net Platform revolutionizes B2B and improves safety of B2B Transactions! The Mobile Phones is a person’s Money Wallet! Given the motivations and inclinations of the Governor of the Central Bank, The Prime Minister could be persuasive in get ECAB on Board!

          A major development will be the use of the Mobile Phone as the point of sale for all airline transactions! “Rona” will move what was a growing trend to a normal activity for safety reasons!

          With a major educational campaign, the People will embrace technology which they are already using in some form! “Everything can be explained to the people, on the single condition that you want them to understand.” ― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth!

  10. Remember that old saying “banker’s hours”? There’s something to it. should be open at least every day. No reason to keep seniors standing in the heat for the ATM at Woods! There’s no reason every bank shouldn’t have ATMs all over this island. There’s ONE in English (ecab) and it never works right or is out of money. Us this the 21st century, or what? There are just times when you need to go into the bank to get answers, loans, make deposits. This is just archaic!

  11. Why don’t the banks spend the money to install flex glass to protect the workers? They will then not have to be concerned about the workers safety. They certainly have enough money to do it.

    • Some have the capability of Drive Through Banking yet they close early. What is the reason for that. Cannot be Covid.

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