Probe bank jobs

Smith calls for study of financial institutions

The island’s main public sector trade union wants an investigation into the employment practices of commercial banks in Barbados.

Acting General Secretary of the union Roslyn Smith.
Acting General Secretary of the union Roslyn Smith.

Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Roslyn Smith told Barbados TODAY this afternoon there was need for a study to be conducted into the ratio of locals to foreigners being employed by such financial institutions.

Although the NUPW – the leading public sector trade union – is not the bargaining agents for bank employees, Smith was concerned about the pending loss of Barbadian jobs as a result of the planned streamlining of Scotiabank and RBC Royal Bank.

“Is it that we are going to lose all Barbadians employees to something else?” the union leader asked. “A survey needs to be done to see what ratios of locals are in these banks.”

Smith further stated that the public needed to get involved in this matter because, “at the end of the day, you are seeing layoffs to Barbadians . . . What is the other percentage of persons?”

The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) is the main bargaining agent for employees of commercial banks, but General Secretary Toni Moore could not be reached for comment on Smith’s suggestion.

Last month, Scotiabank announced it was closing 35 branches in the Caribbean, including Barbados, and cutting 10 per cent of its staff over the next two years.

However, it did not say how many local employees would go on the breadline.

RBC has already sent home 15 employees from Barbados, as part of the streamlining of operations across the region.

Another Canadian-headquartered commercial bank operating in Barbados has also served notice of pending consolidation. While no mention has been made of retrenchment, the locally-based FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB), which is a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), has informed customers of its intention to further consolidate its back office services which support its lending, account and client information processing. It also said it planned to outsource computer operations and some administrative and service functions to its parent company CIBC.


One Response to Probe bank jobs

  1. Maxine Baker December 30, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I am in agreement that probes must be carried out into the operations of Banks here in Barbados. Some of them practice what I may refer to as “high-handed bank robbery”. In some cases if they find that you deposit funds are over and above your payment to them (loan/mortgage) they go in and take out charges for “this and that”.

    Some time ago (2011) I removed my purchasing power money (bills, food, etc.) from the bank because each month they were digging into it without my consent and leaving me with a feeling of helplessness at the end of each month. After I did such, they began to cut into my payments to take out “late fees” which arose as a result of their added service charges to the payments. Rather than alert me to leave at least another $5.00 for them, they began to distort my payment schedules and in the month of September 2014, they assigned 13 counts of late fees to my account – out of my payments because they had no additional funds with which to play.

    It was soon discovered that my payments to them from 2005 could not be traced, together with the fact that they claimed that at age 48 (2005) that I had signed a 30 year repayment plan with them. They would never have offered such and I would not have accepted such. They have therefore calculated my mortgage account for 30 years of payment which put me at finishing my mortgage with them at age 81. Unheard of!!

    Of the $100,757.00 that I have paid to them over the past 9 years, only $5 500 has been attributed to the Principal. From an original loan of $110,000.00 my balance now stands at approximately $125,000.00. The manager has informed me to “get a lawyer”. Just imagine, they have messed up and I am to find funds – I do not quality for a loan in any financial institution at this time of my life as a result of a high debt ratio – and i must now pay a lawyer out of my bills and food money!

    I had entered into another contract with them in 2011 for consolidation and home improvement (not having any knowledge of the undercurrent with the mortgage then) only to discover recently that they had added the new loan amount to the mortgage and up-stamped it in the Registry. I am paying the new loan separately but was informed by agents in Jamaica that it was added to the mortgage. I have separate statements up to April, 2014 for the mortgage account and the new loan.

    The officer who dealt with me between 2005 and 2008 was transferred to a higher post. The officer who took over the account in 2008 (mortgage only) and opened the other in 2011 was transferred to another branch when I began to query the status of the two accounts.

    The officer who has the responsibility presently seems not to understand what went on before and appears not to be too interested in the matter. He told me via email that the statement of the loan (2011) being added to the mortgage (2005) which was untruthful. It would appear that I am repaying the new loan twice. How else would my mortgage balance be over $125,000.00 nine (9) years hence of an original loan of $110,000.00?

    I receive calls from agents in Trinidad two days a week from May, 2014, who keep informing me that my payments are late.

    Since 2005 November until this moment my payments are lodged in the bank by the accountant and are shown on my wage slip. I have lost hundreds of dollars in late fees because I have been informed that if I do not pay the “arrears” they cannot “look” at my account, yet I lose $50.00 in late fees each month – $30.00 to mortgage and $20.00 new loan. This situation is indeed possible!


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