ECONOMIST Marla Dukharan warns Barbadians not to expect too much from commercial banks in terms of support during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that while banks have done a lot, they are nonetheless limited by regulators on what they can do and their primary responsibility is to protect their depositors’ money.
The Economist has indicated that banks are required to maintain a certain level of capital. This capital, she explained, is at risk when repayments are lower in institutions.
While recognizing that banks are well capitalized, that is, they have room to do things, there are still a number of things that they cannot do.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began a year ago, banks – all of which are owned by foreigners – have helped their customers by granting moratoriums on loans and credit card payments in view of the loss of employment of these clients. But the pressure continues to mount on them for services to continue as the support period has ended.
However, Dukharan believes that companies that make sacrifices to keep their workers should be helped.
“People think banks are profitable and should be more forgiving, but there are limits to what they can do,” she added.