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Up to 5 days for local cheque clearance; Banks have failed VI customers

- No political party has zeroed in on treatment meted out by banks; Where is the FSC?
Persons in the Virgin Islands continue to complain about the challenges of doing banking businesses in the territory. Many have accused the banks of not doing enough for customers. Photo: VINO
1FirstBank is one of the banks operating in the [British] Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
1FirstBank is one of the banks operating in the [British] Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
In the heat of the 2023 political campaign, residents are disappointed that none of the four political parties running for office has spoken in any meaningful way about reforming the banking system in the Virgin Islands (VI) or advocating for better treatment of customers by those institutions. Photo: Facebook/File
In the heat of the 2023 political campaign, residents are disappointed that none of the four political parties running for office has spoken in any meaningful way about reforming the banking system in the Virgin Islands (VI) or advocating for better treatment of customers by those institutions. Photo: Facebook/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- In the heat of the 2023 political campaign, residents are disappointed that none of the four political parties running for office has spoken in any meaningful way about reforming the banking system in the Virgin Islands (VI) or advocating for better treatment of customers by those institutions.

There are five major commercial banks- Banco Popular, First Caribbean International Bank, Republic Bank (BVI), National Bank of the Virgin Islands and 1FirstBank- residents use for financial business transactions, savings and checking accounts and loans; however, customers continue to suffer long delays.

We need a central clearing house

Take for example; it takes up to five days to clear a local cheque. This is because there is no ‘central clearing house’ among the banks, something that is common in almost all other jurisdictions.

If a resident or business person deposits a local cheque, the same cheque has to be manually exchanged between banks on day 1. If the cheque has funds or can be accepted due to other arrangements with the relevant bank, the exchange or having the cheque cleared happens on day 2.

If the cheque bounces then it is returned for insufficient funds on day 3 and sometimes the bank may hold on to the cheque for a while longer. If the transaction falls on a weekend, it can take yet another two days. This means it can take up to a week to clear a cheque in the Virgin Islands (VI).

Many residents, business persons and senior banking officials blame the Financial Service Commission (FSC) for not pushing or coordinating an automatic clearing house.

Over the years, all political parties and governments have not been strong on these matters and have not fully addressed the daily banking struggles of residents and the business community.

Hard to do business in VI due to banking sector

This has resulted in the slowdown of commerce in the Territory, where financial services is the major pillar.

Additionally, because of this challenge, some business persons will ask that cheques be written in their own names, or if it’s in the company’s name they will stand in a bank line and cash the cheque then use the cash to deposit on another account. This avoids the issue of waiting for some 3 to 5 days for a cheque to clear.

As the political campaign comes to a close in about 12 days, this has not been a sustained topic in the political space.

Many are asking if the political class even understands the issues or the inconvenience of residents and the business community both locally and for those overseas who do banking in the VI.

FSC must come forward

What is required to correct this, according to a senior banking official in the field, is for all banks to be electronically connected to a central clearing system, but someone must drive this in order for it to happen, according to the same official.

The FSC is responsible for regulating banks, insolvency, and fiduciary services in the territory.

Residents still complain of the long bank lines, poor internet that slows down remote banking transactions, and the high turnover of junior bank staff. In addition, there is a struggle for banking services on the sister island of Virgin Gorda, and a cash machine for Anegada and Jost van Dyke.

It is unclear why the current political aspirants and the current elected officials have not given this matter the attention it needs, as easy and quick banking is another way to ensure economic stability and rebuilding.

23 Responses to “Up to 5 days for local cheque clearance; Banks have failed VI customers”

  • paul (13/04/2023, 12:20) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is so true yall
    • unvaxx sperm donor (14/04/2023, 10:45) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Don't worry we'll soon be forced to use CBDC's. And everyone will accept it just like they accepted the bull during the plandemic.
  • L**s (13/04/2023, 12:22) Like (10) Dislike (10) Reply

    Well I’m banco and their checks only takes a day; if it’s another banks check deposit at Banco two days. I’ve never waited 3+ days!!

    • @ liesv (13/04/2023, 12:59) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      It’s true I experience eveyday at national bank of the bvi and first bank
    • Tvip (13/04/2023, 18:09) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I had to wait from banco to republic 3 business days. If a weekend or holidays within its much more. This is nonsense.
    • L**s (13/04/2023, 22:27) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      The fact people are disliking my experience of what I’ve faced is really mind boggling. You’ll just too much
  • profit (13/04/2023, 12:45) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    is why a bank operates anywhere on earth. If any government in the 'free' world harasses a bank it will just leave that jurisdiction and neighboring banks will do the same. If a future BVI government meddles in bank affairs then the only bank left standing in the BVI will be the National Bank of the Virgin Islands because it was born here and cannot leave.
  • sk**t (13/04/2023, 12:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

    minus whale look into a non-custodial method of payments

  • 2023 (13/04/2023, 13:08) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    mr politician might not desire to challenge the banks because they might use their political office to secure favours from the same banks

    run chat dat
  • Banks like they Run the country... (13/04/2023, 13:48) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Them doing what them want and them slack and lazy.. I remember growing up in the 90s when bank and bank workers were admirable and held in high esteme, now bank is shixxt...These are the young people we putting our future in...The service is very poor, Shixxttty..always trying to say something, some excuse or some lie to brush customers off just to get up and check something for a customer. FCIB is the worse, the F.Bank..those are the banks I deal with...FCIB has an ATM machine at Pier Park 3 weeks now its not working, just taking people cards so shameful to see so many people including cruise ship passengers trying to access the ATM service only to leave strupes in and cursing.. Banks don"t care and when you go to the bank they don't have time to deal with you, some excuse or lie to brush you off..So, sad...Its bad to the point of stenchy
  • Xxx (13/04/2023, 14:01) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    Vino you are the only site doing some real investigative reporting
  • WTF (13/04/2023, 14:13) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    The government diesn't loik into anything to benefit residents.
    1. Banks- they can charge whatever fees they want.
    Does niot adjust interest rates to be in line with global changes.
    2. Insurance Companies- raised property insurabce 100% after the hurricanes.
    3. Ferry transport- almost triplef round trip fare from BVI to STT.
    No Consumer Protection. Not one of these griffting parasites seeking our votes mention anything noteworthy that will enhance the luves of the people.. SMFH
    • CRP (15/04/2023, 08:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The country risk premium in the BVI is 11%. The country premium risk of the USA is 0%. None of these banks have a credit rating and we presume they follow the same controls as the parent company - they do not. The FSC controls are not as tight as USA or U.K regulated banks. There isn’t a fraud bureau here so please get real. Banking in the BVI is risky. Insurance is expensive - nothing will change that, they are trying to recoup their losses from Irma. Not many insurance companies will operate in this space and a price one can afford - the market tells you why and the government can’t change that. Lump it or leave it.
  • cibc / BP (13/04/2023, 14:16) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    this is an interesting topic.
    just a few weeks ago I deposited a banco pop cheque into my cibc account on a monday and it was applied as unavailable funds on the tuesday. on the Thursday it had been debited from my banco pop account.
    the following MONDAY it was still not showing as available in my cibc account. I called cibc on the Tueaday and after many hours of trying to reach someone ( yes hours !!) they just kept saying it takes up to 5 business days to process ( they obviously cant count as i.m now on business day 6) even after i explianes that it had been debites from the providing bank just 2 days after depositing, and its now 6 business days later, they just repeated " 5 days" and then hung up the phone on me.
    It was eventually applied on the tueaday evening.
    shocking service, both in processing and customer service.
    Not holding my breath as far as any political party pushing for banking reform.......afyer last election, they wwre promising to get insurance companies to reduce property insurance..( its been increasing each year ever since)...banking issues wwre slated to be addressed, still waiting. candidatea may promise reforma in these areas, but we need to ask them just how are thwy going to achieve it.

  • VOTER6BVI (13/04/2023, 15:14) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
  • nonsense (13/04/2023, 15:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply

    Don't write @*&^% bounce cheques! Only in certain very rare circumstances it may happen at no fault of the person writing it but a lot of the bounce cheques here are wilful actions! The cheques take 2-3 business days to clear in the BVI if depositing from another bank. If depositing in the same bank the cheque is written on, it's 1-2 days. This is just about nothing! The issue with the bank is the long @%$ lines and outdated systems of dealing with matters in an efficient and quick manner.

  • Daisy (13/04/2023, 16:37) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Banks are out of control. I do understand that with the slow down in the ecomony Banks have to exercise prudent judgement but when Banks stop operating in the best interest of the people the country will and its l people will die. The politicans have no concerns because most of them are living well. High cost of insurance and high food prices are other disturbing issues . In the BVI we are fighting to maintain the rich lives rich and the poor man lives poor. May God help us all.

  • Informed (13/04/2023, 21:30) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Credit cards is an issue also. We pay a supplier. The money clears on their bank the following day so the funds have left. Then the local bank here will not allow you to add more funds to the account as showing pending for 3 more days. THis is insane as the supplier has already spent the money and were just waiting to add more funds to pay another supplier.
    It's a daily fight with the banks to get anything in or out of your account.
    Other banks we have to deposit checks on seperate slips as their machine does not read the checks so has to be done manually. Were about 20 years behind the rest of the world here. Considering were an offshore banking island no one uses the banks here.
  • Que SeRa (13/04/2023, 22:18) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Bank,, Post Office,Education Water/Sewage Internet,medical service and insurance,Government, immigration...,nothing is at an acceptable standard in these VI..,a total failure in keeping with the other Islands in the Caribbean chain dominated by Blacks and " Governed" by Blacks.
    Nothing new here. Same old story.
  • ......... (13/04/2023, 22:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Daniel Davies has been raising this year's.
  • Above politicians (14/04/2023, 01:31) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    This topic ixs way above our politicians. They cannot think along sich lines. They can't even think about simple solution to repsir our nonexistent roads. On the otber hand i would be happy if it takes a week to clear a check. I just received a check from VI bank that was given to me and deposited 1 year and 9months ago. With no explanation at all as to why it took almost 2 years to return a check.
  • News Flash (14/04/2023, 08:37) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    It is 2023 and the use of checks is no longer how advanced economies operate. The reason banking is tough in the BVI is because of a lack of financial education. Too many people living in the stone age writing, and then lining up to cash, checks. No first world country operates this way. Dont blame the banks. Get educated. Get a bank account. Use online banking services and ACH transfers. Stop writing checks and use direct deposit for your employees. If you must use a check use mobile deposit and stop clogging up the branches doing stupid things that can be done online.
  • Incorrect (14/04/2023, 09:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    this is incorrect as Lorna Smith spoke sternly about this on her Cut Deep episode. She also mentioned very pressing issues which have not been brought up by any other candidates.

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