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‘Grads Only’, Rbc Boss ‘Uninformed’

Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.

Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said some recent criticisms of the Bahamas from Tim Rider, Royal Bank of Canada’s senior vice president for sales, were “unfortunate” and “uninformed”.

At a Royal Fidelity Bahamas Economic Outlook (BEO) event this week, Mr Rider, in a rhetorical question, asked if the Bahamas is committed to its own success and lambasted the educational standards of the country.

The remarks have drawn much attention and commentary. 

Mr Turnquest said yesterday: “We all recognise that there are improvements we need to make, both in terms of our educational system and productivity overall. That being said, we have a very professional and talented pool of industry professionals in the financial sector. The extent the generalised statement was made by Mr Rider, that was obviously unfortunate and uninformed.”

Bahamians have been frustrated by RBC’s downsizing, branch closures and relatively high fees. However, Mr Rider said the bank will continue its move toward increased digitisation, saying global trends demand it. He said corruption, poor fiscal responsibility and inadequate training have all hindered the country’s banking sector.

He called on the government to revisit the Homeowners Protection Act, saying the law has put a strain on the mortgage system. The law was enacted under the former Christie administration, designed to help homeowners who fell on hard times. Christie administration officials referred to the law as the most significant intervention ever into helping people maintain homeownership. Through the law, banks must give notice before exercising their power of sale; anyone contributing to mortgage payments – not just the mortgager – could approach the court for relief; the court could vary mortgage payments and, among other provisions, directors or employees of a bank and their relatives are prohibited from purchasing mortgaged property. 

Mr Turnquest said the Minnis administration is still reviewing the law and engaging in consultations on it. He said if amendments are made, they likely won’t come until the next budget cycle when the issue can be comprehensively addressed.

“Statistics show so far not very many have been assisted by the act,” he said.

Mr Turnquest also emphasised that the Credit Bureau, legislation which passed the House this week, will go a long way to addressing some of the concerns banking industry stakeholders have about the country’s mortgage infrastructure.

“The Credit Bill helps us manage the situation and would allow everyone to make better decisions, both the lender and the borrower, based on data,” Mr Turnquest said. 

In the absence of the bureau, lending decisions are based on “imperfect information,” Mr Rider said, noting banks are unable to properly assess the creditworthiness of individual borrowers.

Comments

observer2 1 year, 12 months ago

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/repor...">https://www.theglobeandmail.com/repor...

Don't you just hate it when racially biased foreigners come to the Bahamas and blame everything on black people, call us dumb, stupid and uneducated and our leaders just sit back and take it out of fear they may not get a loan or their $8 billion in government debts won't get renewed.

The above article in the Canadian Globe and Mail Newsaper point to a more systemic and regional issue related to banking in the Caribbean. The problem with banking in the Caribbean is that it is not scalable as the markets are too small. Who wants to role out a technology platform for 300,000 people when you can role out a platform for hundreds of millions in north america? Who wants to deal with a bunch of legislators who clearly don't have a clue.

The Bahamian government makes it even harder when the role out basically impossible legislation to administer (e.g. the Homeowner's Bill) and the Regulator proudly roles out exchange control relaxation (virtually instructing the banks to regulate US accounts for Bahamians - the work fiduciary not a service provider). The Canadian banks will simply not give house loans and will simply not open up US accounts for Bahamians. E.g. One of the more idiot exchange control relaxations is that a US dollar bank balance can't go over US$100,000! So what is the bank to do? Stop taking deposits? Reject incoming wire transfers? Or supposed a business man uses the account to pay their child's school fees? What is the bank to do? Ask them why they are sending money to a school in Canada? No, no...the banks will simple not do the business and try to shut down as quickly as possible.

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John 1 year, 12 months ago

The fact is there is too much of a brain drain the country. Too many of the young Bahamian population are going off to The US, to Canada, to The UK and even now to far Eastern countries for better opportunities. And if they can compete successfully in those huge, extremely competitive markets , then they must have good qualifications with good education. And the markets are drawing them at younger and younger ages. And even now the world of athletics is drawing the young people out this country. And yes, RBC is a lame duck. It is trying to decide if it can heal itself to continue to do business in the Bahamas and Caribbean of if it has worn out its usefulness in these markets. RBC has been hit with some heavy fines recently so, yes it is twice shy after being bitten. And unfortunately money laundering and corruption , including fraud driven bank transactions is not going away soon. And because they feel the regulations are more lax in these parts the criminals keep these countries on their radar. But when you research the amount of fraud and corruption going on in other places, what is done here is just a drop in the bucket. A small drop. The difference is those markets have the volumes and populations to absorb their losses and recover, unlike a small Bahamians market where a single wrong move can wipe a company out.

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seamphony 1 year, 12 months ago

how ironic the bahamas gets called undereducated by a major player in the economy just a few days after PM gets back from the US promoting Freeport as a tech hub. yeah stop denying it. just have to face it and fix the education problem if you can.

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John 1 year, 11 months ago

Well one way to start to fix this is to maybe start bonding students who go off to school on government or corporate scholarships. Another step may be to give the same concessions to Bahamians returning home as is is given to forigners, living allowances and transportation,among other things.it will also be interesting to watch what happens in the US as the number of companies bring their operations back to the US mainland. With unemployment already at 3.8 percent and Trump deporting undocumented workers, there will be a severe shortage of skilled and semiskilled workers. And ,if you recall, the big three auto companies, before moving most of heir operations overseas, required factory workers to have college degrees sounds familiar?.. So many of the young Black, workers who came from generations of assembly line workers, went off to school and got degrees. But they definitely will not go to work on assembly lines when they can work a few hours in Walmart and earn the same pay. Then, like here, many of the inner city blacks and other minorities got caught in drugs and gang activity. Many thousands lost their lives..many many thousands. but Believe it or not. If Trump's plans come to fruition these people will go back to wwork.. The gangs will disband and the violence will stop. Likewise here. it was a wickedly hatched plan that was suppose to continue under hillary clinton...that jezebel spirit.

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bogart 1 year, 11 months ago

"In the absence of a Credit Bureau lending decisions are based on "imperfect information" totally incorrect. Blaming the Bahamian customer does not absolve any bank of possible class action lawsuit for aggressively giving out marginal or faulty mortgage loans destined to fail. The Bahamas cannot pin 1 billion dollars defaulted loans entirely on the estimated 8,000 plus customers ......but persons are trying Actual example extrapulating (general info cause the case is ongoing) for the current alleged money laundering case where Finco is mentikned the accused had a loan at Finco and her salary is just over 32,000 pa and the loan payment is cited. Given mandatory monthly payments still have to be added to debt service ratio the loan amount cited is already 48% ...above debt service ratio and other mandatory deductions like ins, NIB will take it over 50 posibly 60 + of customers salary. Something needed investiigating and it turned out it started from the employers end. Imperfect information is a cop out, banks cannot blame 8,000 cusyomers for massive 1 b dollar defaults, and now blame Bahamian education whom they rigorously hired to carry out the headoffice decisions on selling mortgages to meet targets or else not meeting salary increase. Banks have turned bankers accountants into aggressive salespersons in which is problematic which is like lawyers advertising for customers to meet sales targets...

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John 1 year, 11 months ago

That was a part of the problem, but when loans were given out freehand in the `1980's and early 1990's, there was lots of money, albeit much of it illicit, so very few people were defaulting on bank loans. If borrowers did not have the money, they knew some one they could 'borry' it from. And because there was so much rapid turn over of cash in the economy, the money supply multiplied. the economy was booming. Then when the shiit hit, err I mean when the bottom dropped out of the economy hit, persons not only found out they had a mortgage they could not afford, but also a house they could not maintain and a lifestyle they would probably never experience again. Ever ever. Little. children were walking around with 600.00 phones and top brand name clothing from head to feets. And so when the bottom dropped out mortgages and loans were among the first to go delinquent and so loan officers were called to account. Barak Obama came to the rescue of American banks, some who were hit with heavy fines and others who dumped their toxic loans off on unsuspecting foreiign banks. But there was no such relief for banks operating here in the Bahamas, well maybe for the exception of BoB....maybe Bob was related to Fanny Mae and Fanny Mac.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 11 months ago

RBC has been here in The Bahamas for 110 years ........ for the first 60, black Bahamians were excluded from banking with RBC ....... The question to ask is: When did RBC make most of its profits in The Bahamas?????? ......... and did black Bahamians assist them with making any profits in the past 50 years?????? ......... This veiled racist statement says a lot about Rider.

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hrysippus 1 year, 11 months ago

Sheeps, Are you sure that black Bahamians were not allowed to bank at RBC, cos I never heard that. I heard that back in the day RBC only hired conchyjoe Bahamians but I would have thought they would take money from whoever got it, remember we had black members of the house of assembly way back when. Since members were not paid they presumably had a decent income. Now I don't know and would appreciate your further knowledge, if available.

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SP 1 year, 11 months ago

No surprise here. The extent of the generalised statement made by Mr Rider is the usual fodder used to bring in foreign workers.

How could anyone expect foreigners of Mr. Rider's kind to respect Bahamians when successive governments have consistently demonstrated that they have no respect for Bahamians?

Bahamians have been discriminated against in our own country by our "leaders" who brought in foreigners for everything, regardless that qualified Bahamians were available, so why shouldn't Mr. Rider feel justified with his comments?

Thank GOD our people finally woke up to the reality that Christie and Ingraham were enemies of the country and people!

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killemwitdakno 1 year, 11 months ago

I hope Turnquest has a qualifying enough degree to comment.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 11 months ago

He went to Praire View ....... Go figger

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bogart 1 year, 11 months ago

When businesses come to the Bahamas to provide services and make profits there must be regulation to monitor them to provide fair play to Bahamians. When customers go into the bank there must also be someone looking after their side too. While the bankers have been aggressively selling bank prpdicts to meet high targets of sales or else they do not get salary increases, bonuses, commissions, special prizes like SUVS, trips etc, Customers must not be "guided, pushed, enticed, sold, pressured' by loan officers into making bad decisions because bank targets have to be met to get a salary incrrase, or win commissions, prizes etc. The recent Scotia manager whose story was recently in this papers of the customer with a 10,000 to open an account being sold 10 accounts is a small part of what goes and hidden by bank secrecy. Banks need to be investigated to protect the small man cause oftimes it seems that authorities in charge are in associations with these banks by way of business connections, governments banker, credit, loans, overdraft to pay govt workers, financing government projects, getting large govt loans, all members of Chamber of Commerce, financial associations, buying Govt Treasury bills etc, and there is noone looking out for the protections of the common man.

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John 1 year, 11 months ago

The stock market has taken its biggest dive in TEN years,the biggest drop since 2008. Is the market correcting itself for all the gains over the past 18 months or was Trump just riding on the coat tails of the Obama Administration. On thing for certain is despite unemployment being at its lowest in 20 years consumer confidence remains low. Very low under Trump's non traditional style of governance. Besides that salaries remain basically unchanged and investors believe that with all the 'new' cash flowing into the economy will lead to inflation. And several big companies earnings were less than expected. what will that mean for the Bahamian economy,that never recovered from 2008 and the 4,000 graduates coming out of school in a matter of months.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 11 months ago

"Mr Turnquest said yesterday: “We all recognise that there are improvements we need to make, both in terms of our educational system and productivity overall. That being said, we have a very professional and talented pool of industry professionals in the financial sector. The extent the generalised statement was made by Mr Rider, that was obviously unfortunate and uninformed.”"

I'm confused by this story, I can't tell if Mr Turnquest is calling the statements if the people who criticized Mr Rider uninformed or if he is calling Mr Rider's statements uninformed.

In any event, drop it. There is absolutely no need for government to pick a fight with a private major employer when everyone know what the employer said was true. Inartful, but true. He did not say he couldn't find "a talented pool of industry professionals", he said he couldn't find the breadth of talent the among "high school" graduates.

Please remember what happened the last two times a minister tried to play big and bad. Mr Mitchell's immigration crackdown unceremoniously snagged the Frenchman from UBS and shortly thereafter the bank closed. Coincidence? Maybe. Then Mr Foilkes said he's gonna get to the bottom of these bank fees! RBC consolidated and let 60 people go.

You're in power now, you must mind what you say and do eyes of investor is watching you, you must mind

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