Friday 10 April, 2020

COVID-19: Banks giving six-month grace period on loans, mortgages

(FILE)

(FILE)

Persons in Barbados with loans and mortgages can expect some ease during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

While speaking during the conclusion of the Estimates debate on Friday night, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said that commercial banks will be offering a moratorium up to six months for its customers.

After discussions with the Barbados Bankers Association, it was decided that this six-month grace period will be for the payment of all loans and mortgages of persons and businesses impacted by economic slow down caused by COVID-19. 

"You must go to your banks and work out those programmes because that six-month payment moratorium makes all the difference . . . The six-month moratorium is for those people who will lose their jobs or people whose businesses are affected. It's absolutely critical because people are now struggling to see how they will take care of themselves, struggling now to see how they will buy food, struggling to do everything else. You can’t be worrying with this devastation being as large as it is about losing your house too," the prime minister advised. 

Mottley expressed concerned about the number of unbanked adults in the island, she stated that effective April 1, 2020, commercial banks will no longer impose monthly charges on senior citizens as well." 

Speaking specifically to those persons who have reached adulthood and do not bank with any institution, shoe continued saying:

"We do believe that the cost of banking services should not discourage ordinary citizens from participating in the financial system and it is has had the unintended consequence as well as the deeper issue which is the high number of persons who are being unbanked in this country." 

However, Mottley did admit: "I am particularly concerned about what appears to be an inordinately high level of monthly service charges and as a result in addition, while some banks do not charge a monthly service for fees to senior citizens, it is not the practice of all."

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: