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Financial expert warns on borrowing

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Gowon Bowe

By LETRE SWEETING

A TOP financial expert called for Bahamians to save their money and stay away from frivolous borrowing.

Gowon Bowe, Fidelity Bank’s CEO, agreed with Transport and Housing Minister JoBeth Coleby-Davis’ statement made on Thursday that there needs to be a public shift concerning financial prudence. Mrs Coleby- Davis made the comments as the government granted six Bahamians with keys to new homes.

Mrs Coleby-Davis also said that each customer service agent at the Housing Department is overseeing about 300 applications for those needing new homes.

In view of these statements and an estimated average of some 30,000 consumer loan applications a year, Mr Bowe said Bahamians should not allow consumerism and “immediate gratification” to drive financial health and financial decisions.

“I’m probably going to say that the average consumer loan in the country is somewhere around $30,000, possibly even $40,000. You’re probably looking at somewhere around 30,000 applications per annum. Divide that by a month, you know, probably 2,500 a month,” he said.

Mr Bowe said Bahamians should be more careful with their money and really consider whether it is appropriate to incur debt for certain items.

Mr Bowe said that though debt itself is not a bad thing, it could become a very dangerous tool when prioritising luxury items as opposed to more productive ones.

“It isn’t something that should be considered evil. But it is a very dangerous tool, if it is not (done) with very deliberate focus. By that I mean that if we are going into consumer debt for vacations, for Christmas shopping for, shall I say, debt to consume immediately and have no intrinsic value going forward, then you have to be really capable of handling that repayment amount that is going to be attached to your earnings on a monthly basis,” he said.

“If we are borrowing for what I’m going to call luxury items, and that’s all for fun and enjoyment and it is not a very low monthly payment, we should ask ourselves should we be incurring that cost? Should I be borrowing to go on vacation? Or should I be taking more of a relaxing time in my homeland.”

Mr Bowe said, “But if you are borrowing consumer loans for what I’m gonna call productive use, some persons may borrow to buy a vehicle that vehicle used to transport them to work and in order to do household projects, if you are borrowing for educational purposes, so you either yourself or your children are reaching your standard of education, these should be seen more as investments.”

He also said, “Only borrow for what is necessary, and what you are comfortable in paying. And in some of the circumstances, unfortunately, what we see is persons who are borrowing and actually have no assets to show for it at the end of the day, and only have a monthly obligation to repay. And those are the circumstances when people are more minded to walk away and really put themselves in greater problems.”

Comments

sheeprunner12 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Borrowing goes both ways ....... What the customer wants and what the lender approves.

Bowe is not telling the full story about the reality of 242 banking. Our banks are predators. Our people live for the moment.

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M0J0 2 months, 2 weeks ago

lol he is the man in charge of one, I am sure he does not stand in Fidelity saying please don't borrow. Another nanny stain post.

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TalRussell 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I'd like to pop a few what should be an easy answer to my banker interview questions for Fidelity Bank’s CEO, Comrade Gowon Bowe. (a). If he agrees the yearly combinedrake of the Numbers Houses is in the One Billion Dollars+ range? (b).That $3,600 is the reasonable average amount wagered yearly on numbers by the average player on numbers? (c) Since the government has all the gamblers' statistics at their ready, why aren't they releasing them?, and (d). What recurring negative effects are compulsive gamblers having on his bank's personal and business, loans, credit card and savings account portfolios, and finally (e).Are any of the Numbers Houses or their subsidiaries banking with Fidelity Bank? and, (f). and my final question (f) Has the bank seen a constant increase in the number of those becoming compulsive numbers players? ― Nah, none of the above presents our bank with much of an issue?

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hrysippus 2 months, 2 weeks ago

To accuse the local banks of predatory lending is an exaggeration that is probably thrown by someone who found that he actually had to pay back the monies borrowed. The far greater danger to consumers/borrowers is the short term-high interest unsecured loans advanced against pay checks. If a gambling house is making a huge amount of profit on a daily basis, then setting up a company that extends short term-high interest loans is a great way to put that money to work to make even more. This hopefully is not happening, but it is a clear and present danger that other countries have passed legislation to minimize predatory fiscal abuse.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 2 weeks ago

When a person can't access a bank, they turn to pay day loans

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hrysippus 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Sheepruiner; just so, you are correct. The more desperate that you are, the more vulnerable you are to the low Lifes who are waiting to prey on you. In our country lowlifes are rewarded with titles, riches, and government appointments.

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DWW 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Can he talk to the gubmit too please? Is a half billion a year frivolous?

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realfreethinker 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Is he the only financial expert the tribune knows?

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bahamianson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

How may years of work makes someone an expert? Even if you graduate with a specialty, does it make you an expert? How long must you work in your field to be considered an expert? This guy looks like he just graduated. Has he been working for 60 years? Policemen will tell you that graduating with a masters in criminology does not make you an expert on street crime. The officer whom worked the streest day in and day out has more experience than the graduate.

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