A Banking system that caters to the needs of Bahamians owned by Bahamians
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For over 100 years the Bahamas Banking sector has been owned by a majority of foreign owned banks. The Bahamas has not developed a system of Banking that fulfills the needs of the Bahamian people. There has been a cycle of abuse and exploitation in the banking system that has resulted in a mortgage crisis, exorbitant fee hikes (over 187%), predatory loaning practices and unregulated interest rates. Bahamian people have been frustrated by bad service and the disrespectful attitude received in many of the commercial banks in this country. As banking is an essential and integral component of the average Bahamians everyday life it is important that the persons that represent us not only know our concerns but stands up for us.
We find that there are many banks that are not serving the interest of the Bahamian Banking system and carrying out business in a manner that is detrimental to the interest of the public and its depositors. Therefore, we call for a full review of all commercial banks to determine the extent of such violations to sections 6 and 9 (2b) and any other portion of the bank and Trust act.
We would also like the following
1. Any reports of finding of The Central Bank or The Bahamas Government from any committees or regulatory boards relating to recent actions of commercial banks to be made public and available to CABE.
2. Review of central Bank policy and it's preference for foreign owned banks. Thus opening up preference to Banks owned majorly by Bahamians to form a Bahamian banking sector that is diverse and competitive.
3. Regulations of Banking fees by an independent board that contains public citizens and representation from group such as Citizens Against Bank Exploitation. This can be a Financial Conduct Authority
4. Caps or regulations on interest rates and not just minimal rates to discourage exploitative practices and predatory loans.
5. Improved vehicle for reporting bank misconduct that is responsive to the needs of the public and easily accessible. This can be an independent consumer protection board.
6. There should also be a national policy that banks must agree to that allow equity in mortgages and substantial loans, so that in hard times there can be mortgage protection.
7. Public consultation and public education on prime rate flux and improved financial practices.
Signed The Bahamian People (Citizens Against Bank Exploitation) CABE
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