As Caribbean countries continue to implement measures to deal with the novel Coronavirus, two banks have offered relief to customers who are affected.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Republic Bank Ltd announced that it will be lowering the interest rates on loans and giving parties the opportunity to defer loan payments.
Speaking on these measures recently on CNC3, Managing Director of RBL Nigel Baptiste said that the decisions made by the bank would assist with the liquidity requirements of companies.
Baptiste articulated: “The Prime Minister mentioned the deferral of loan payments. This is not a waiving of the loan payment, this is not a write off of the loan payment – this is a deferral of the loan payment.”
He continued: “Again it is intending to assist in the cash flow of the company. Not for the company to take and use otherwise but for the company to use that cash flow very wisely to see it through this crisis.”
According to the Trinidad Newsday, also implementing a deferral policy was Term Finance, which announced that it would offer deferrals on employee loan payments.
Term Finance indicated that it would only grant deferrals in cases where employers confirm that wages are being adversely affected.
Meanwhile, in Barbados, individual and commercial customers of at least one commercial bank who are negatively impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) are in line for some help.
On Wednesday, RBC Royal Bank said it would be providing financial relief to its Caribbean clients impacted by the pandemic, Barbados Today reported.
“Effective immediately, most RBC Personal banking clients in the Caribbean will benefit from an automatic three-month payment deferral on credit facilities. Business and Corporate banking clients are also eligible for the relief programme, following individual eligibility assessments with an RBC representative,” the bank said in a statement.
Barbados Today revealed that automatic payment deferrals will be applied as of March 17, 2020 and remain in effect until June 30, 2020, or until further advised.
To be eligible for the programme, Personal banking or Business and Corporate banking client accounts must be current and in good standing as of March 2, 2020. Clients who are already participating in RBC relief programmes for other circumstances are excluded from this programme.
The bank said this scheme was intended to provide flexible solutions and help clients manage through the impacts of COVID-19, such as pay disruption; childcare disruption due to school closures; or dealing with the COVID-19 illness itself.
“These measures are an important first step and underscore the resilience of the financial system and the critical role banks play in the economy. RBC will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the evolving economic conditions in each country and territory where the bank operates. RBC may consider other relief measures, if necessary,” the Canadian-based financial institution stated.
Barbados TODAY reported that discussions between the local banking representatives, clients and regulators were ongoing regarding possible plans should the pandemic becomes worse and further disrupt lives.
The good news from RBC comes as Barbados records two cases of the viral infection to date.
It also comes a day after tourism industry officials reported a further dramatic falloff in business and looming fears of widespread job losses as countries continue to restrict travel and flights are grounded.