CENTRAL BANK TO OFFER FINANCIAL EDUCATION

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A decision has been made by the Central Bank of Barbados to initiate a programme to provide financial education to persons who might not be considered “highly financially literate, but who are capable of understanding how to manage their money”.

This was revealed yesterday by Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Marion Williams, as she delivered remarks at the official opening of the new Scotia Bank Rockley Branch. She pointed out that financial education of the public was becoming more challenging because the financial world was becoming more complex.

She also made reference to the financial climate in the United States of America and the decisions made by consumers there which had resulted in many persons losing their homes.

“We want to be sure that our consumers are sufficiently financially literate that they don’t make those types of decisions. So, it is a precautionary move… And, I have to say that the commercial banks have indicated that they are going to be doing the same thing,” Dr. Williams stated.

She stressed that public confidence must be nurtured and continued to be enhanced by all players in the financial sector, working together to arrange approaches and strategies. She said that she was very encouraged by the fact that both the commercial banks and the public sector financial entities had recognised this and were working together.

Noting that Barbados’ financial sector had undergone significant transformation and progress over the past decade, the Central Bank Governor stated that the system had been bolstered as a result of restructuring, consolidation and rationalisation, which had led to a maturation of the sector.

“Today, we see statistics of those countries which have a percentage of ‘banked’ clients and banking of the ‘unbanked’ is something that developing countries are pushing to do. But, Barbados has been far ahead for a very long time … so that we hardly have any ‘unbanked’, almost everyone is ‘banked’,” Dr. Williams observed.

She issued a caution against thinking that Barbados was safe from the challenges being experienced in overseas markets because of its sound financial system. “…We have to be conscious that we cannot say it can never happen here, so we have to be vigilant and make sure that we continue to operate in a manner that will redound to the strength, safety and soundness of our financial system,” the Central Bank Governor advised.

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