Minister of Finance Speaks on Correspondent Banking Issue
STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE PREMIER, MINISTER OF FINANCE- DONALDSON ROMEO
CORRESPONDENT BANKING RELATIONSHIPS FOR THE BANK OF MONTSERRAT
Fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat good day.
It is important for me to speak to you on the recent developments regarding the Correspondent Banking Relationship for Bank of Montserrat.
Bank of Montserrat has not been served notice to have its Correspondent Banking relationship withdrawn. Bank of America, which is currently the pay through or correspondent bank, has instead informed the bank of its intention to withdraw such services within the Caribbean Region, including Montserrat.
Therefore, much of the comment and reaction locally and regionally are premature. I wish to inform the people of Montserrat and the listening audience that there is no need for panic. I have set up a task force which has already met and is working along with the Government and Bank of Montserrat to pursue and negotiate alternative possibilities, some of which have already been identified.
The Office of the Premier is also working in conjunction with the FCO via Her Excellency Governor Carrier to effect the commitment made by Her Majesty’s Government to provide an adequate interim solution, should the need arise. At the last JMC in December of 2015, the UK Government agreed to support the Overseas Territories in liaising with UK banks to ensure that Territories have full access to uninterrupted merchant and correspondent banking services.
Montserrat has recently passed a regional uniform Banking Act that is in accord with the Basel Committee standards for best practices in banking and banking regulations. Added to that, in recent years, the Government of Montserrat has repeatedly taken steps to see that Montserrat is in compliance with evolving international financial and banking services standards. These actions have put our local banking institutions in a good position in the international arena. Also, as a British Overseas Territory, the Government of Montserrat, its People and Banking institutions are further subjected to the scrutiny of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) in every significant trade or investment agreement made with international governments, private bodies, investors or individuals.
Much of the information circulating and airing is therefore inaccurate and serves only to create uncertainty. There is no need for panic. The Bank of Montserrat will issue a statement shortly which will further support my comments. Let us strive to preserve and protect this beautiful Island Montserrat.
God Bless you All!