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Some VI banks are worse than the mafia – Hon. Christopher

December 22nd, 2011 | Tags: HOA banks Alvin Christopher loans
Hon. Christopher is urging the HOA to look at ways that would make it easier for persons to get loans from the banks and under friendlier conditions. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Most of the lending institutions in the Virgin Islands make it difficult for people to get loans, which something 2nd district representative Alvin Christopher wants Government to address.

He was at the time debating the Appropriation Act No. 1 of 2011 in the House of Assembly (HOA) on Wednesday, December 21, 2011.

According to Hon. Christopher, in many instances persons wishing to obtain a loan have to go through a tedious process which deters many from following through.

“Most of the lending intuitions in the Virgin Islands, pardon my expression Madam Speaker, is worse than the mafia. Once they get a hold on you, they grab you for life and whatever you do, they after you,” Hon. Christopher remarked.

He stressed to fellow members of the HOA that the methods of how such process is handled by the banks need to be addressed in an expeditious manner, and frankly stated “It is like the banks are setting people up to fail”.

“When the banks should be lending assistance to see and guide people, they find ways to make it more difficult for people, for them to survive,” he pointed out.

39 Responses to “Some VI banks are worse than the mafia – Hon. Christopher ”

  • BREAKING NEWS!! (22/12/2011, 07:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tell them Alvin. Work with NDP to make the banks come to their knees.
  • billy b (22/12/2011, 08:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Alvin, in some cases that is true, speaking from a personal perspective, I was having trouble with my mortgage, I was upfront with the bank and they have bent over backwards to help me out. Reason being, they are impressed with me for not dodging them. Some people know they have their mortgage to pay, but rather going in, sitting down and being upfront, they dodge them. Ignore their phone calls for payment and pretend they don't owe, and when they are in over their heads on their accounts, then they start bawling they want help People, the bank really want to help you, but you have to be upfront and honest
    • Killuminati (22/12/2011, 12:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The banks are one thing but the "OFFICERS" within the banks are the REAL FRIGS!!! Some purposely try to mess up some of their customers. If foreclsure is upon you then they collude with the lawyers to set up one of their friends as buyer of the property. Good thing Uncle Ralph close the loop hole whereby you did not require an alien land holders license for foreclosed properties. Let us not talk about getting a loan (exclude auto) in this place which seems to be based on last name, acquaintances and other nonsense beside your actual credit.
      • Mr. Blak (22/12/2011, 14:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I will not tell you that doesn't happen in which case is very unethical but in the end if you cannot pay for your mortgage or land. all areas to help you has been exhausted then the bank has to foreclose. The main putpose is to have the facilities bought so a PROFIT can be made, if this means conytacting friends and assiciates and gauging their interest then so be it. The property still must be advertised to the general public and a fair time table must be giving to propective buyers. In the end yes some banks do collude with others to circumvent the rules but hey...that doesn't happen where I work.
        • Killuminati (22/12/2011, 16:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Would be nice if we went back to the 'barter system' and the Gold Standard to rid the globe of banks. ALL banks here in the VI operate like a cartel especially the 2 from PR. FSC really need to look at legislation to curb the nonsense that the banks do here. Banks make their money through interest rates but some people do not know that alot of their profits are from "FEES". "The main putpose is to have the facilities bought so a PROFIT can be made, if this means conytacting friends and assiciates and gauging their interest then so be it". - this is typical of banks especially in the VI! Many of the services offered by the parent companies (main branch) to its customers are not offered here in their subsidiary bank.
  • Mr. Blak (22/12/2011, 08:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tell ALVIN TO HUSH! Now let me get professional with you guys...It is the CITIZENS that are there own worst enemies when it comes to lending. Tortola does NOT have a credit bureau so clients try to take advantage of it. They take personal loans that are WELL beyond their means and when you instruct them that their debt to income ratio is to high and we can not approve this loan they run to a lawyer (if they can afford one) or a JACK$$$ like Alvin and complain. Sometimes we go ahead and approve the loan AND GUESS WHAT HAPPENS?! sometimes before the 3RDpayment they in arreas A WHOLE 3 MONTHS! There is excuse is always rent or they ONLY get pay this when we told them from the start they couldn't receive the loan of that particular amount. Then my personal favorite is<"I can't pay now because I'm going on vacation or I hAVE TO SHOP FOR CLOTHES AND OTHER NONSENSE"! When you sign an agreement with a bank it states we will lend you this money and you are to repay on this particular date every month no if ands or but! When a client has a viable and REASONABLE explanation for delinquency THEN and ONLY THEN we work with you and offer products that can assist in curing your delinquency. So MAFIA you say lol you sound just like the fools who re-elect you. How Skelton-Cline lose to you is obvious now, it wasn't him it's the WALKINF DEAD who live in that district is how you won. People get in the REAL world, when you take mortgages, personal loans and commercial loan......HONOR YOUR GOT DAMN CONTRACTS AND LIVE WITHIN YOUR GOT DAMN MEANS!
    • billy b (22/12/2011, 09:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    • STRUPES (22/12/2011, 09:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Blak, you couldn't have said it better. I agreed with you fully.
    • Crank Shaft (22/12/2011, 10:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      LOL!!! Tell em' Slick!!! I'm not the biggest fan of banks on a whole but what you say is true! I've seen it myself and I don't even work in a bank LOL! People saying point blank they owe credit card and loan payments but that hairdo, new shoes or trip comes first! There are even people who owe loan payment, mortgage, credit card and still rent payment while dressing up and liming hard. If we had an agency here that rated credit like in the US, people would pull their socks up. But we don't so as you say, they take advantage! One just have to look at the bounce checks lists at some establishments and see the names, you would be so shocked LOL! If you can't afford it, LEAVE IT ALONE, simple!!! This is why you don't see 'broke' people balling! They're making $1500 a month with no loans or credit card payments because they don't qualify, while you make $10,000 a month but with all bills add up, you paying out over $8,000...and still behind, who's better off? We need to be responsible! The only thing I would like to see banks do is be a bit more accomodating when it comes to purchasing land and building a home..that's what should really count, especially to the young people!
    • PS (22/12/2011, 10:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Thanks for putting things in the proper perspective. While there are some issues with the banks the real problem are the people who are trying to live above their means. If your debt to income ratio is high it means that you do not have the borrowing power equal to the amount you are trying to borrow. This is one of the reasons why things have gone out of control here in Tortola because many of us are trying to impress people who don't even know us or care about us. We are competing with each other to see who has the biggest houses, drives the best and most expensive cars even though we can't afford them. We can exercise some control over this matter. Let's look in the mirror first.
    • Bank customer (22/12/2011, 10:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Blak, you made some plausible points, some of which are definitely true. However, some of your same points would be the truth for some customers. You can not judge every customer the same or put them in the same categories as the irreponsible ones. Mr. Christopher also had some valid points. The banks do try to help; however, my problem with them, is their disclosure policies. It seems as if they have none. It is only when a particular situation arise that they find it necessary to explain what it is, or what should have been done to avoid it. This to me is very misleading to their unsuspecting customers. They now make debit to accounts without advice to the customer. Not every customer has a computer to go online or as a matter of fact understand why their account was debited since they were never given definitions for transaction codes. Long ago tranaction codes were printed at the bottom of the bank book. The various service charges can eat away at a small savings. An explanation would be provided only if you are savy enough to inquire. These attitudes need to change as well as employees behaving like the money to be borrowed is their personal funds asking unnecessary questions such as who you belong too, what does that have to do with assessing my borrowing capacity. They need to also practice confidentiality. I have personally experieced by details being related back to me, which I had discussed with not one else but the loan officer who in turn gave the details to my husband who was their friend. It is going on and must stop!
      • Mr. Blak (22/12/2011, 14:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Well customer the asking of personal questions like who you for is NOT practiced at my institution and if it did I would advice you to file a complaint. Secondly, all lending intstituion that are banks where you save your money has the RIGHT TO OFFSET ANY DEBTS OWED TO THEM, wether it be by litigation or GARNISHMENTS. Now I understand banks have debt collectors but some clients believe they don't have to call in advance and explain any current or upcoming deliquency. That they must sit back and WAIT for the bank to contact them and only then they should explain themselves smh YOU ARE SADLY MISTAKEN. If you have a debt more than 2 months in arreas and there is not a SUITABLE AND REASONABLE explanation recorded THEN THE FUNDS WILL BE DEBITED FROM YOUR ACCOUNTS and your facilities updated. Inquiry any banking institution in this region and they will tell you the same. REMEMBER THIS IS THE REAL WORLD WE ARE LIVING IN not MIDDLE EARTH or HOGWARTS.
        • bank customer (23/12/2011, 02:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          I agree and understand your points in respect to the bank garnisging moneys oweed to them if there is sufficient funds in an account held with them;however that was not what I was referring to. I meant regular sevice charges that are not explained prior to the debit because of lack of explanation of transaction codes. I am not talking about an outstanding amount due to the bank.
      • billy b (22/12/2011, 16:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @AT Bank Customer, Why you vex your husband know. What difference does it make, your debt is his debt (if you don't pay). Ayo always picking man ayo cant trust and expect officers to hide ayo secrets. The officers dem ain pick him, you did!!!!!!!!
        • Excuse Me (22/12/2011, 16:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Foolishness!!! If her husband is not a BORROWER or GUARANTOR of the loan then the banking institution has no right to divulge the wife's business!!!
          • exactly (23/12/2011, 02:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            Billy b seems to eat stupid bush or something! As long as the huband's details are not required to qualify the wife, the bank officer had no right informing the husband about the wife's transaction with the bank.
          • Mr. Blak (23/12/2011, 08:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            If an individual name IS NOT on an account or a loan INFORMATION CAN NOT BE GIVEN TO THAT PERSON....If that is done then it is a VIOLATION. I know of instances where people take loan for others and when the peron who was given the proceeds show up to pay or get a status report WE DON'T GIVE THAT INFORMATION UNLESS THE MAKER OR ACCOUNT HOLDER CONTACTS US AND GIVES PERMISSION TO RELEASE THAT INFORMATION.
    • Federal Reserve (22/12/2011, 12:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Blak, although you have some valid points about how customers and banks operate; it should be shown that we are operating under a very flawed system. We use the US tender (FIAT) which is produced by the Federal Reserve System. Are you familiar with the true meaning of this system? Federal Reserve Act of 1913 under then President Woodrow Wilson? The fact that US Gov't does not own the Federeal Reserve and that they in fact BORROW! Research the term fractional reserve banking (lending) and how it evolved from the gold smiths in Europe. As it is, we as a people have no choice because the system is designed the way it is to keep us in debt. Also note that credit = debt; they are one of the same. You and other bloggers should check this link for starters - and then do your own further research. The sad part is that some bankers are not aware of the flawed system in which they work for...hahaha! Also check US Presidential Executive Order 11110 and see if you notice the what Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy "finally" had in common.....WAKE UP!
      • Mr. Blak (22/12/2011, 14:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Yes the system is not designed for you to win ESPECIALLY minorities but you know why? reading, comprehension and COMMON SENSE. Now Bank of America just settled a massive lawsuit for unethical lending practices. Targeting minorities with good income and credit and steering them into the HIGH RISK SUBPRIME mortgages that we now know was very FLAWED and TO RISKY. This caused alot of individuals to lose the American dream, their credit and insome cases their savings. All of these individuals qualified for the less risky standardize mortgage that the Majority gets. If you ask me I want to build my home with my own money which most of the time is impossible but that is the oly way you will come out ahead. Read your agreements and anything you don't understand you ask questions until you do or hire an attorney who can explain it to you in simple terms.
        • Federal Reserve (22/12/2011, 16:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Mr. Blak, get real!! I will leave you with two links and You have not answered any of my points! Bankers/Banks = LEGAL LOAN SHARKS! Stop hiding behind of the legal fraternity!!
          • Mr. Blak (23/12/2011, 08:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            Homie I'm versedin the TRUE conspiracy that is the Federal Reserve who are really THE ROTSCHILDS and Rockafellers that yes our governments and systems are all slaves to the IMF and the WORLD ORDERS blah b;ah blah....I'm just sticking to what needs to be comprehended by our locals.
  • RK (22/12/2011, 09:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    SWELL. Why waste time. People do what they feel, banks do what they want.
  • Me (22/12/2011, 10:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. Blak I totally agree with you, it;s not bank fault, it's the same people who take the loans can't pay it back because of frivolous reasons!!! Come on live within your means.....
  • Realist (22/12/2011, 14:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think what Christopher is trying to say is the banks here in the BVI is taken advantage of the people here with there interest rates compare to there interest rates in the USA. People check the system b4 calling down people the government needs to shake up the banks here
    • Mr. Blak (22/12/2011, 15:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Well Realist you have a point and I asked my superiors earlier in the year why we are not following those standards. The explanation I got made sense, With the down turn of the overall economy on the main land and with banks folding at a rapid pace measures had to be taken. lowering the interest rate to stimulate lending was the first and only good idea and trust regulators had to pull tooth and nail to get the banks to agree to this. The reason that that di not happen in our region is simply we have not experience the serious economic down turns like the mainland.....we have not experienced massive layoffs and even though some banks in the region lost money it was never close to the point of failing so the lowering of interest rate was never an option in fact if any bank had a parent company from or associated with the mainland the interest was raised in the territory to offset the loses of the parent company.
      • Federal Reserve (22/12/2011, 16:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Poor excuse Mr. Blak! A bank being licensed to operate in one thing but 'true regulation' is another!
      • True (22/12/2011, 17:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        No downturn? Now all the other stuff your spot on but perhaps in the financial sector there was no serious downturn but in the tourism sector there certainly was and its still happening, restaurants going out of business people on minimum wage losing there job through a lack of tourist trade. There has been a downturn in the economy the problem is your bosses don't want to acknowledge this and cut the interest rates. No downturn look at the ads in the papers for apartments, over a hundred every week and a lot more on the market, no home sales for nearly a year for 1 realtor. Back in 2008 before the downturn happened it was quite hard to find an apartment on this island, not anymore.
    • billy b (22/12/2011, 16:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Realist. Get real, if the interest rates too high, leave them alone. They don't hyjack you and make you take their loans at gun point. If you walk into a store and the bag you want it too expensive, do what realistic people do, walk out deh store
      • ok (23/12/2011, 02:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Is this the real billy b or an imposter? you usually sound logical in the majority of your posts, but to tell you the truth, your posts today seems rather eractic; especially your response to bank customer. Are you serious or are you having an off day?
  • Realist (22/12/2011, 14:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    These banks sees the BVI as there cash cow and killing us here
  • rat tail (22/12/2011, 14:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    so he playing opposition leader but Fahie and Frazer ah wait like a snake for he
  • E. Leonard (22/12/2011, 23:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Banks are businesses and in the business of making of money/profit. And a major of source income is taking in demand deposits at low interest rate then lending them out at high interest commensurate with the market. Though banks may have some corporate social responsibility, their major responsibility is to their shareholders/owners. Moreover, banks do not make a profit on excess cash sitting in their vaults; it is smart and effective business to lend it out. But in Making loans, they make every effort to minimize their risks. They usually have a check list of qualifying criteria, including employment, employment history, past borrowing history, debt to income ratios, family size, current net income, the state of the economy, size of loan, collaterals, length of loan, type of loan....etc. Hopefully, these are some of the factors that are considered for getting a loan, and not title or other factors that do not figure in the ability to repay the loan. Clearly, the higher the risk the higher the APR. In a contracting economy with lowered consumption and reduced spending (demand), manufacturers produce (supply) less goods; production increases when spending and consumption increases. Clearly, spending and consumption is a function of the level of employment. Similarly, banks are normally more conservative and more stringent in screening applicants for loans during economic slow downs. Banks often times prefer to let money sit than lend it out to risky customers who may default on the loans. Banks are not in the real estate or car business and prefer not to have to foreclose or repo. Loans are contracts between the bank and customers with specific terms and conditions. And when the terms and conditions are not met, banks take actions to recover their loans. Banks abhor foreclosures and repos and will work with customers to the maximum extent practicable on restructuring their loans. In regards to the high interest rate, banks compete for their customers and the interest rate reflects what the market supports. True, competition is somewhat limited and there may be other forces at play that keep rates elevated. Most of the banks are foreign-owned and reflects a plantation economy, passive incorporation syndrome; we need to move to active incorporation, i.e., economic activity(s) are driven by locals. The BVI's economy is market driven, not a central economy. Therefore, government should not determine what banks or other businesses charge for their goods or services. Government forced interest rate reduction will exacerbate the lending environment; price control usually lowers quality and reduce the quantity of good or service; i.e., rent control in NY. Government can work with banks to determine what can be done to provide more loans or they can guarantee certain loans. The bottom line is that banks are in the business of making loans. They are not serving their share holders or customers well when excess money sits around. Nonetheless, customers must qualify for the loans and meet the terms and conditions of the loan, i.e, paying loan on time.
    • Mr. Blak (23/12/2011, 08:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Couldn't have said it better smh
    • Federal Reserve (23/12/2011, 16:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Leonard, this is what the system is set up for us to believe. Dig DEEPER and you know that this is all a LIE!!
      • E. Leonard (24/12/2011, 02:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Federal Reserve, from the name I'm assuming (and assuming is dangerous) that you are comparing banking in the BVI with banking in the US. As you are aware, the Federal Reserve administers money policy in the US. Anguilla and Montserrat, the other two Overseas Territories in the Eastern Caribbean, are part of the ECCB. But I do think that the BVI has a central bank. The US dollar is legal tender but I'm not sure that banks falls under Federal Reserve system as banks in the USVI are. It appears as if you are tough on banks. To be fair I do not know enough about bank(s) operations or lending practices in the BVI to offer more than a casual opinion. Nonetheless, from my perspective banking is a legitimate business that provides valuable service to the BVI community. Aside from providing a relatively safe repository for excess cash, they provide a host of other valuable service. Though some Virgin Islanders appear to deplore the current lending practices of banks, banks do provide the opportunity to buy or build homes, buy cars, buy construction and trucking equipment, start or expand businesses or fund public sector projects that would probably otherwise would be delayed or at worst not happen. Further, the banks multiply the money supply. For example, with a demand deposit of $100K and a reserve requirement of 20%, banks can theoretically expand the money supply up to $500K. From the tone of many commentors it appears that there is a general displeasure with current lending practice. Perhaps, the Minister of Finance can engage the community and the banks to ascertain what is fuelling the displeasure and what action((s), if any, can be taken to address the concerns. Specifically, the Premier needs to discourage "red lining", i.e., denying loans to qualified applicant based solely on their title, social status, or other discriminatory factors. For the longer term the BVI needs to improve banking. The following are few suggestions: 1. Establish its own central bank 2. Explore joining the ECCB 3. Explore joining the ECB 4. Incorporate more locally-owned banks 5. Create and install a central bank under the purview of Financial Services. If not a full blown central as a minimum tasks with some responsibility for administering money policy _______________________________________________________________________________________________Further, establish a mechanism(s) for local venture capitalist or ordinary citizens to invest in government or private projects. This will provide the opportunity for locals to earn a reasonable return on their money.
        • Federal Reserve (25/12/2011, 09:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Thanks for the response Mr. Leonard. Not exactly comparing the banking in the VI to that of the US. Although the parent branches are abroad and subsidiary branch here in the BVI; similar to the trust companies are charter companies (disproportionately not locally owned). Ownership can be another debate as it relates to various factors such as expertise and financing. The fact that we use the US legal tender we are somewhat under the clutches. Your suggestions are understood however more competition such as more progressive banks that offer more products and/or credit unions which are a good alternative. Regulation which can be enforced by FSC and the Minister of Finance. If you have not already, research Singapore and China and note they have a Corporation that invests/reinvests in its own economy. What investments does the VI Government have beside CD's at a bank which we all know give ridiculously low returns. We need to be more financially saavy but with caution so as to avoid risky investments such as the mortgage crisis. The displeasure with the banks are its practices but also the BANK/LOAN OFFICERS that take the lending practice personal. Seems as though some officers feel the bank's money is their money and not merely an employee of the establishment. I have yet to see an administration/elected officials that have A PAIR to take on various challenges within our society that plague us each day. The ism's (communism, fascism, imperialism, socialism) of life have been with us throughout time, capitalism is our creed at the moment. Wonder what the next one will be? Have a Merry Christmas.
    • lawarance (24/12/2011, 17:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      just more blah blah blah blah from all of ayo!
      • Mad...... (24/12/2011, 19:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        What r u mad about? If everyone is yapping blah, blah, add something clear, concise, informative, and interesting to the discussion. Thus far, I have gotten some value from the discussion. Some bloggers understand the value that banking offer; and others seem angry at it. Nonetheless, Federal Reserve, Mr. Blak, Crankshaft, Billy B, Realist, Bank Customer, E. Leonard and others are keeping the discussion both entertaining and interesting. Lawarance, it is the holiday season so free up yourself and have some fun. Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ano Nuevo! Still struggling with Spanish:)

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