OPINION: Antigua Indigenous Banks Choking


Antigua Indigenous Banks Choking

The indigenous banks in Antigua are choking on the remains of the Canadian banks, and even though the have rehired many of the courteous staff of the two banks which made Antigua a normal banking space for business investment, the local banking systems suck(sic.).

The capacity to divorce the culture of contempt for persons with whom one disagrees politically and otherwise, in banking, is not an easy Antiguan achievement. Coupled with the U.S. induced restrictive roles in the financial controls, Antiguan businesses are being embarrassed and delayed in ways which real banking seeks to prevent.

The key here is banking systems which are expected to improve the banking service are not being monitored by trained personnel in ways which help the customers.

Even the speedy EFT which is supposed to move money quickly between internal and external accounts, takes days to drop thereby holding up business transactions and causing cheques to be returned without reference to either party.

Further the failure to do the courteous thing by telephoning businesses to query concerns is not a part of indigenous banking, so the uncouth local attitude to business people with issues, is the only option for those who are not expatriate.

The recent fracas between those in high places and the Chairman of ECAB is truly biased and unwarranted unless referring to the entire banking fraternity.

And, it is not going to get any better as the government seeks to control ALL banking establishments, or by placing their own minions in the hierarchy of the banking structure.

The favoritism being showered on ACB is as undeserving as the constant character assignation of the ECAB Chairman, as both banks are seriously in trouble, where political interference is creating arrogant supporters of the government in power, to the detriment of good local businesses.

Finally, a story of one bank which can be said of all. A business which is unknown for ‘bounced cheques’ had nine (9) cheques returned without comment from the bank, only finding out about one because it was an employee.

Calling the bank days later to find out the cause, as an internal deposit was expected, was advised that there were nine, photocopies were sent, which included communications cheques.

Seeking to correct the issue calls were made to the establishments to immediately correct the issue, but the establishments refused to accept payment because they had no advice of returned cheques.

Meanwhile the internal deposit finally hit the account, to no avail because the cheques were returned, without advice to the issuer or the receiver.

When further queried the banker failed to apologize and replied that their daily pages of returned cheques precluded their calling the businesses on the lists! So why do businesses pay banks interest and charges for services? And that bank was not ECAB!

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  1. ECAB sent out emails advising that credit card payments will be credited same day. I made a payment of $2500 on Friday. It hasnt been credited up to now.

    • Don’t you know that it must be seasoned for stewing a few days, for them to maximize and, realized their accrue accumulated interest at the expense of your service deposits? Mediocre Banking 101.

  2. Why come on here chatting? When you are not calling the name of the bank, you all always a Hide up. Stupessssss.

  3. The whole system of Governance Sucks because of The Top Dawg with MOF. Portfolio. The Buck stops where!? Say it loud!

  4. Some questions to consider

    First question :
    How are the customer service and online platforms of the one Indigenous Bank in Antigua
    that was not involved in Canadian Bank asset acquisition performing ?.
    That bank being Caribbean Union Bank (CUB).
    CUB is 13th in size out of the 14 OECS Indigenous banks based on asset size.

    Second Question :

    Has the sudden increase in size of the two indigenous banks in Antigua that were involved in Canadian Bank Asset acquisition caused them to become too difficult to run ?
    Those two banks being Antigua Commercial Bank Caribbean (ACB) and Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB).

    The asset acquisition pushed both banks into what I will call the Mega bank size for OECS Indigenous banks. That is a bank with assets greater then 2 Billion Eastern Caribbean Dollars .
    Before that there were only two with one being in an even bigger class with assets over 3 Billion Eastern Caribbean dollars. ( St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank) .
    The other mega bank is Bank of Saint Lucia. St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank and Bank of Saint Lucia seem to have grown to their current sizes over time and not due to any recent asset acquisition.

    Third Question :

    Could any poor customer service being experience by the public just be the result of Indifference by management and staff and not by the sudden increase in size of the banks ?

    Fourth question :

    Or are the issues caused by a combination of issues from questions #2 and #3 ?

    • @Commentator: let me add another variable: Consider the problem may also be the systems they acquired eg from Scotia bank. Outside of A&B, other banks (Republic bank in SLU) have teething issues with the conversion? How many years it took RBC to convert RBTT systems? Recall even up to the buyout by ACB, RBTT clients still had to use different ATM’s. Will agree we have a cultural issue where enough focus is not placed on making the client interaction as smooth as possible. Instead, we seem to take pleasure in having them jump over hurdles.

  5. Apparently a pledge to improve has already been made .
    Expected Time frame for full implementation unknown though .

    From ECAB Chairman’s report for Financial year 2021.
    Would have been presented for AGM held 07 June 2023 .
    Chairman’s Report

    “Advancing Our Reach.
    Stepping into the future”

    “The year 2021 continued in the same vein as 2020
    with disruption occasioned by the COVID-19
    pandemic. However, ECAB was not daunted by
    the challenges, rather we used the disruption and
    challenges to refocus our efforts on our systems
    and processes with a strategic purpose of making
    banking more convenient for our valued customers.”

  6. Writer your statement “The favoritism being showered on ACB is as undeserving as the constant character assignation of the ECAB Chairman” ignores the fact that its ACB who placed the chairman at ECAB. ACB is a major shareholder in ECAB. As far as the issue with cheques, I recall the same happening with RBC. Would suggest that its time we do away with cheques since they are error prone(signatures not matching, insufficient funds issues not caused by the client..). Must remind you that ECAB now has 24 hour customer service. I myself have received calls from them, responding to my queries 9PM at night and even weekends. ACB, I will agree need to be more responsive. Happen to believe moving to digital banking, which includes ECACH, will solve most of the problems we are currently experiencing.

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