Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce (FP)??

Financial institutions have been encouraged to do all they can to provide the best available products and services to the region.

This call was made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, as he addressed a cocktail reception at the Hilton Barbados to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) last evening.??

He said: "… our international banks must do all they can to bring to the Caribbean those financial products that have proven successful in helping to develop Canadian small and micro enterprises. In an increasingly international and interconnected world, there really ought not to be any major difference in the suite of financial products offered by banks in different jurisdictions.??

"We do not expect Barbados and the Caribbean to be left with gaps in the banking products offered to our businesses when those products have proven successful in similar circumstances elsewhere. Especially, we feel that our banks must ensure that the offerings of e-commerce services in Barbados are no less versatile or robust than those servings in the Canadian and other markets where the same banks operate."

He pointed out that the banking sector here was characterised by the existence of a few banks, with regional and/or international standards of performance.?? He underlined that all of these institutions had to recognise that the conditions in the world today, for the last several years, and for the next few years had required and would mandate that banks reevaluate their role in our economies and provide the support necessary to our businesses and our individuals.??

"Banks will need to stay the course with their customers – and this is likely to be less costly than cutting those customers off. Banks will also have to be more prepared to find ways to assist budding businesses to become established without impairing the capital of the banks," Senator Boyce declared.

He also called on banks to help new business owners to have access to risk or equity capital as well as regular loan capital so that their projects could succeed.?? He contended that banks were sufficiently profitable to make a significant financial contribution in this way for the development of entrepreneurship in the society. "I believe that the Income Tax Act as recently amended provides the opportunity for banks to do this with some measure of tax relief," he said.

In addition, Senator Boyce suggested that the pricing of financing and banking products in the Caribbean must be done as aggressively as in other jurisdictions to favour smaller businesses.?? "While we appreciate that the economies of scale will in many instances not operate in Barbados and other parts of the Caribbean, our banks will have to improve their efficiencies enough to enable themselves to be sufficiently profitable without having to charge the much larger spreads that often characterize banking in the region," he charged.??

Minister Boyce congratulate RBC on achieving 100 years of continued service and described their performance over the years as "excellent", but challenged the company not to rest on its laurels.


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