Gov't Pays '3x' Value Of Bob's Toxic Loans


Tribune Business Editor


Bank of the Bahamas' (BOB) latest bail-out has cost Bahamian taxpayers more than three times' the net value of toxic loans purchased from the stricken BISX-listed bank.

The full-year 2017 accounts, released yesterday, reveal that the Government paid $162 million to acquire non-performing credit worth just a net $49 million as part of the bank's August 'rescue'.

The accounts, audited by the KPMG accounting firm, reveal that the $113 million "difference" will be written back into Bank of the Bahamas' balance sheet as 'special retained earnings', boosting its net equity and helping to largely erase a $140.498 million accumulated deficit.

Explaining the implications of BOB's most recent bail-out, the financials said: "A portfolio of non-performing loans with principal amount of $131 million, and accrued (unpaid) interest receivable of $31 million, with a total net book value of approximately $49 million was derecognised.

"$162 million in unsecured promissory notes [government bond or IOUs] was received for these loans and was recognised as an asset.... The net difference of approximately $113 million between the Notes received and the net book value of the derecognised assets was recognised directly in equity as 'Special Retained Earnings', and is considered to be a part of the bank's regulatory capital."

The gulf between the sum paid by the Government/Bahamian taxpayers to rescue an essentially insolvent Bank of the Bahamas, and the net value of the 'toxic' loans acquired by the Bahamas Resolve bail-out vehicle, has never previously been disclosed.

The August 2017 transaction copied the model established by the first Bahamas Resolve 'rescue', which injected $100 million worth of government paper into BOB in exchange for 'bad' loans worth a net $45 million.

However, the latest bail-out represents a far greater transfer of liabilities from BOB to the Bahamian taxpayer. For the sum paid by the Government is 230.6 per cent, or more than three times' higher, than the $49 million net worth assigned to Bahamas Resolve's latest toxic loan portfolio. The ratio for the first 'rescue' was just 122 per cent.

That $49 million valuation is also open to question, given that James Smith, Bahamas Resolve's inaugural chairman, previously revealed to Tribune Business that the first $45 million portfolio was worth half that amount once all the loan security/collateral was properly assessed.

The two bail-outs are a massive transfer of liability from BOB, and its shareholders, to the Bahamian taxpayer, given that it is the Government - through Bahamas Resolve - that now has responsibility for collecting on these 'toxic' loans - a process that could last decades.

The Government is also redeeming the $100 million worth of bonds injected into BOB through the first Bahamas Resolve transaction, a process that will be completed via four payouts this fiscal year.

This raises the possibility that the Government will, at some stage, also have to redeem the $162 million involved in the latest transaction and replace them with hard cash - something that represents the most significant potential drain for taxpayers.

But BOB's financial statements for the year to end-June 2017 reveal that the Minnis administration had little choice but to effect a second 'bail-out', given that an astonishing 55 per cent - more than half - of the bank's loan portfolio was rated non-performing.

The bank's continued deterioration was highlighted by the fact that non-performing loans, as a percentage of BOB's total credit portfolio, had increased from 46.07 per cent at year-end 2016 to 55.11 per cent just one year later.

This meant that $246.973 million, out of a net $448.125 million portfolio, was 90 days or more past due at end-June 2017. In particular, 79.4 per cent or $44.038 million of BOB's $55.487 million commercial mortgage portfolio was deemed 'impaired' at the year-end date.

Some 57.8 per cent, or $103.494 million of BOB's $179.101 million commercial loan and overdraft segment, was also branded as 'non-performing' at year-end 2017.

The scale of the latest Bahamas Resolve transaction was meant to cure this, and BOB's continued non-compliance with four out of five key regulatory capital ratios set by the Central Bank of the Bahamas.

"It is expected that this transaction will restore all of the bank's regulatory capital ratios to compliance," BOB's 2017 financial statements said of the latest 'bail-out'.

"As of June 30, 2017, and 2016, the bank was not in compliance with regulatory minimum requirements for the following [four] ratios primarily due to the significant net losses recorded by the bank and the consequential accumulated deficit position.

"The Central Bank is aware of these regulatory deficiencies, and has imposed certain supervisory interventions on the bank. The bank continues to report to the Central Bank on its progress. Effective September 30, 2016, the Central Bank increased the minimum capital requirement for the ratio on total capital to total risk weighted assets to 18 per cent for the bank."

The extent to which the Government continues to prop up BOB is further highlighted by the fact that, at end-June 2017, the Public Treasury and other government agencies accounted for 37.4 per cent - more than one-third - of the bank's total deposits.

The impact from the Bahamas Resolve transaction was not included in BOB's 2017 financials, given that the 'rescue' occurred two months after its year-end. The BISX-listed bank's net loss almost doubled, from $23.296 million in 2016 to $46.3 million, almost entirely due to a more than-100 per cent increase in loan loss provisions.

These grew from $24.499 million to $51.957 million for the year to end-June 2017, highlighting the extraordinary weakness of BOB's credit portfolio.

KPMG, pre-bail-out, warned shareholders that there was a "material uncertainty" over BOB's ability to continue as a 'going concern' given the heavy, consistent losses incurred by the bank since its 2014 financial year.

"The bank has experienced continuing operating losses for the last several years, and was also non-compliant with certain of its externally imposed regulatory capital requirements as at June 30, 2017, and 2016," KPMG said.

"These events and conditions, along with other matters as set forth, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the bank's ability to continue as a going concern.

"Management does not expect that the continued operating losses or regulatory capital deficiencies will impact the bank's continuing ability to operate as a going concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter."

In a separate development, Tribune Business understands that Anthony Allen, formerly Scotiabank's top Bahamian executive, has resigned from his post as BOB's deputy chairman for unspecified "personal reasons".


Economist 4 months, 2 weeks ago

After the banking crisis in 2008, many regulators investigated the banks. Some of the banking officers went to jail others were fired.

What has our regulator, the Central Bank, done?????????


bogart 4 months, 2 weeks ago

What has the Regulator done?

Well this is ironic in that the Bank of the Bahamas was suing the Central Bank before our Deputy PM And Finance Minister who is an accountant stepped in and ?..?.......resolved the issue. Well its resolved or is it resolved ?

A Public Hearing or any bit of hearing with the public or even a scrap of public Hearing seeing that hundreds of millions have gone into tjis bank as only persons paid by the same govt who appoints the Chairman and Board of Directors audit the Bank.

While forensoc audits were promised by the DNA it should be apparent brfore any massive injection of public funds by any Public officials should warrent public consent.

As a Bahamian I am proud of anytjing bearing the name Bahamian but I am not prepared to lose common sense by wasting hard earned money from Bahamians who are suffering, sacrificing, and vworse off as never brfore to pay VAT.so that it can be thrown down a hole and without any public consultation or public inquiry.

Loans should be investigated and where wrongdoing is found then punishments must follow.What was the oppodition doing all this time ?

Disappointed with the DPM. It is time Mr. D Aguilar be given the position as the Finance Minister as he is has a lot of business practival sense and is not one of the previous political club.


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Repost from 2 months ago: I am both astonished and stunned by the political naivety of the new Minnis-led government in simply adopting the fatally flawed Bahamas Resolve Ltd. model for dealing with the continued financial hemorrhaging of BoB. But I am not the least bit surprised that Moody's is encouraging our new government to take the wrong fork in the road given the hideous role that Moody's plays as an agent for foreign interests that would love to see the Bahamas destabilized so that certain foreign corporations could move in and acquire our natural resources and other national assets on the cheap. It must please Christie, Halkitis, John Rolle, Wendy Craigg, James Smith and others no end to see Minnis and KP make the disastrous political mistake of adopting the failed Bahamas Resolve government "bailout" model created by the previous corrupt Christie-led government. It is beyond comprehension why our new government did not seize the opportunity to put an end to the deceitful (and likely illegal) Bahamas Resolve model of continuing BoB bailouts. This model was designed for one deceitful purpose only: To drag out the inevitable liquidation of this failed bank over an extended period of time in order to force (through continuing operating losses and resulting capital replenishment needs) significant dilution of the non-government stakeholders' interest in BoB. This latest $166 million bailout brings the total BoB bailout amount thus far incurred by taxpayers and national insurance fund contributors to a staggering sum well in excess of three hundred million dollars ($300,000,000). It is unfathomable that Minnis and KP have decided to take ownership of the fatally flawed, and possibly illegal, Bahamas Resolve bailout model created by the corrupt Christie-led government. This devious model has permitted a technically insolvent bank to keep its doors open and make continuing significant losses, all at the taxpayers' expense, while its ownership interest in BoB increases at the expense of all of the non-government stakeholders. BoB should have closed its doors a long time ago and an official liquidator should have been appointed to wind-up its affairs. Had that been done, the non-government stakeholders would have at least been protected from the crippling effects of all the ongoing losses since incurred. Minnis and KP had a golden political opportunity to get government out of the banking business by putting BoB into liquidation with the blame for all of the losses falling on poor decisions and shenanigans of the corrupt Christie-led PLP government. Instead Minnis and KP have endorsed the poor decisions of the last government by adopting the Bahamas Resolve bailout model for themselves. This means they have foolishly elected to share with the last government responsibility for BoB's continuing financial mess. A serious naive political mistake indeed!


Reality_Check 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Repost from 10 weeks ago: Dr. Minnis and KP are about to needlessly commit political suicide in their handling of the collective financial mess at BoB and Bahamas Resolve. All can see that the patient was brutally abused by the previous government and has been lying on the operating table quite dead for sometime now, notwithstanding very costly emergency treatment that was doomed to failure from the get go - including several blood transfusions from the taxpayer donors that simply bled out onto the floor. We, the people, supported Dr. Minnis becoming PM so that he could certify the time of BoB's death and sign its death certificate. We did not elect the new FNM government to foolishly continue trying to resuscitate a dead corpse at a ridiculously absurd cost for the family members who are barely able to make ends meet, i.e. we, the taxpayers. Get on with doing what you promised you would do Dr. Minnis, otherwise you will be the one to end up politically owning all of the inevitable horrendous losses associated with BoB and Bahamas Resolve. Just let the chips fall where they rightly politically belong - in Christie's lap and the lap of the PLP - because no matter what you do these unpleasant and very costly chips are going to fall in any event, and you certainly don't wish to take serious political pain that rightfully belongs as a part of Christie's despicable legacy.


alfalfa 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I questioned the actions of the previous Government when they established Resolve and began to absorb the non performing loans of BOB at our expense. Now our new Government who should be prosecuting the gangsters who fraudulently obtained these loans and the officers of the bank who facilitated them, seems to be following in the footsteps of the PLP who they criticized so badly. Paul McQueeny received a handsome severance package for his part in this fiasco. God knows what Richard Demeritte got. Paul is now working for the Snake and we are bailing the bank out again. For what reason? Because Dionisio is a shareholder? Are we serious about a change of the status quo? I do not think so.


Reality_Check 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Articles published in The Punch in December 2013 informed the Bahamian public that Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) had made the following loans and advances connected to political friends and cronies of Perry Christie:

• $28 million to Leslie Miller and/or entities owned by him and/or members of his immediate family.

• $3.5 million to Obie Wilchcombe & Pleasant Bridgewater re. Universal Distributors Bahamas Ltd., a company apparently now defunct for all intents and purposes.

• $8 million to another senior PLP cabinet minister, rumoured to be pudgy with short stubby grubby dirty sticky fingers.

• $6.3 million to PLP business woman Patricia Mortimer who purportedly is a best friend and business partner of Lady Poodling and the owner of several shops at Nassau International Airport.

• $2.3 million re. GEMS Radio Station which at the time was owned by Debbie Bartlett and Cyprianna McWeeney, the latter being the wife of PLP lawyer Sean McWeeney who is the brother of Paul McWeeney.

• $4.5 million to enterprises owned/controlled by Edward Penn.

• $4.6 million to Phil Lightbourne re. Phil's Food Services (Phil Lightbourne was the front man and spokesman for Ben Frisch who owned Bahamas Food Services up until the PM allowed the Frisch Family to sell it to Sysco Foods (a large U.S. public company) in April 2013.

And the above list represents just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mega millions of dollars of now essentially worthless loans (loans that never had adequate collateral) that were fraudulently made by BOB over many years to cronies of both Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham alike. BOB HAS BEEN BANKRUPT FOR A LONG TIME - Tony Allen and Wayne Aranha should have been appointed to liquidate BOB, not manage it. Now Tony Allen is gone - he must have quickly come to his senses and realized Minnis and K P Turnquest were wrong to endorse and accept the failed Bahamas Resolve bail out model that Christie, Halkitis and Wendy Craigg had created.


Reality_Check 4 months, 2 weeks ago

"Management does not expect that the continued operating losses or regulatory capital deficiencies will impact the bank's continuing ability to operate as a going concern."

Translation: "Bahamian taxpayers and the National Insurance Fund have already been bilked to keep BOB's doors open and Minnis is prepared to let the horrendous bilking of taxpayers continue no matter what it costs!"


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 2 weeks ago

And now Minnis is proposing to buy the Lucaya hotel properties, likely without their gambling casinos. Just how stupid can this man possibly be?!!


ThisIsOurs 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't think its stupidity, I believe its a deliberate strategy. They're acting like election candidates, making wild promises to please everybody, Bahamians, FNM's, Haitians, carnival people, investors, inner city people, unemployed, business owners, Grand Bahamians, and on and on. What you end up with is a mix mash of something that looks nothing like a policy. The dangerous part is, he has full power to use every penny in the Treasury to back these promises up "and" he's appointed a PR and Marketing man as FS to oversee the "campaign" disbursements


Porcupine 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I am pleased to see that there are people who see what this scam amounts to. I think the most important thing to take away from this situation, so clearly evident in this article and comments, is that the financial experts are completely full of shit. Completely. When the word "derecognised" is used, what other nonsense is going on behind closed doors. We already know, don't we? This is happening world wide. The reason the rich are getting richer and the middle class and poor are getting poorer is not because the rich are smarter, more hard working and more productive, or because the rest of us are slacking. It is happening because the game is rigged. The importance of Facebook, professional sports and the other distractions in keeping the world's population ignorant to what is happening couldn't be clearer. Those who fill the top regulatory positions in banking and finance are there for one reason, and one reason only. To sell bullshit to the people with their gobbledy-gook language which only serves to obscure reality. Rolle, Craig, Halkitis, they are all the same. Educated just enough to do their master's bidding. They collect their big salary, dress nicely and go to important meetings. They keep this charade going as long as they can. Intellectually, they are handicapped. Morally, they are bankrupt. They use a language of deliberate deceit, full of ambiguities and outright falsehoods. The challenge is to save our country, and the world, from these paid charlatans and to reach up into the upper echelons to those they work for and to eliminate their sociopathic ways from our lives. Presently, given the available evidence, given the lack of education here, and given the severe lack of moral fortitude among our "leaders", it seems as if The Bahamas is doomed. In the very, very near future


Sickened 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I was going to comment on the article but you said it all for me. Thanks!


Porcupine 4 months, 2 weeks ago

BoB is a national disgrace. Every high level official associated with this bank over the years should be investigated and charged for the many obvious crimes that have been committed against the Bahamian people. Those who received politically connected :"non-performing" loans, should be foreclosed on immediately. If it means they need to go to Social Services to apply for food assistance, so be it. What a great term, non-performing loans is, huh? It shows what they take us to be, doesn't it? These people completely screwed the Bahamian people. Knowingly screwed us. Silence means complicity. Perhaps, The Bank of The Bahamas was designed to fail. Ever think of that? Follow the money.


bogart 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Every loan needs to be investigated. Where customers did not meet the bank policies and were approved somrone has to be hehd responsible. Where and there are likely to be cases of irregularoties, where there was not due care and attention done or negligence occured then persons must be compensated. Its simple to follow standard world wide loan procedures either the applicant can repay or cannot repay. To have massive reoccurring failures with yhe peoples money mist call for public investigations. All the prosecutorial language in Parliament about the big words like malfeasance, accountavility, transparency, its the peoples time must also be translated into action outside......otherwise its like both sides of the same coin.


concerned799 4 months, 2 weeks ago

How much further would the Bahamas have been if in 2000 BEC and the Bank of the Bahamas were sold off and privatized?


Dawes 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Bahamians are too accepting. In other countries (notably Francophone ones) the people would be demanding accountability and heads to roll. We will grumble a bit and move on. This is what both Governments expect to happen and they are probably right. Whilst i can understand having to bail out the bank, to do so and not have one of the directors in court and not only naming all who have the non performing loans but going after every other asset they have, should be a national embarrassment. But we will just carry on whilst us the taxpayers are made to cough up more to cover these political connected people, from all political parties.


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 2 weeks ago

PM Minnis and his Cabinet Ministers will soon be using BoB in the same way that previous governments have done......that is why it is so important for Minnis to make good on his campaign promise to shut down and liquidate BoB to avoid unnecessary additional operating losses associated with a fully staffed bank operating at great loss from many branches. Also, keeping this de facto bankrupt bank open to accommodate the money laundering needs of the corrupt racketeering numbers bosses is reprehensible.


baldbeardedbahamian 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Corrupt plp gangsters in power............................. Peered out from their shiny gold tower.......................... To their sweet minions below,.................................... B O B crusts they did throw............................................ But Resolve leaves a taste that is sour..........................


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