Wobbly economy worries ECCB

Trevor Brathwaite
Trevor Brathwaite

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – As two more indigenous banks in the region go under, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is concerned about the status of the financial stability of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

In recent days, the National Bank of Anguilla Ltd (NBA) and the Caribbean Commercial Bank (CCB) were closed and their operations are to be transferred to a new entity.

According to governor of the Central Bank Trevor Braithwaite, “The Central Bank is very, very concerned about the maintenance of financial stability and good and sound banking practices.”

Over the past seven years the Central Bank has had to intervene in the management of four of the region’s commercial banks. When asked if citizens have reason to be concerned about the banking sector in the Eastern Caribbean, Braithwaite gave an assurance that the ECCB is taking steps to safeguard their deposits.

“Our mandate is to make sure that these banks operate on a sound basis. We make sure there is good governance in these institutions, that depositors’ funds are protected, that creditors are able to get repaid and that there is general good banking business being conducted within our region,” he said.

Braithwaite said the indigenous and international banks in the region experienced a period of crisis during the global economic financial downturn which took root in 2008. He said the slowdown in economic activity resulted in a sharp increase of non-performing loans on the banks’ books.

The banks have since rebounded, but the ECCB remains cautious.