Montserrat and other members countries in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) have agreed to offer a loans moratorium to customers.
A joint statement from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the ECCU Bankers Association said they “understand the anxiety that some customers and residents across the ECCU are experiencing over the loss of income” due to the pandemic.
“The current situation is unprecedented and we recognize the magnitude of the likely impact on our daily lives. Rest assured, we are here to offer guidance and support as we navigate this situation together,” the statement read.
The two bodies have been meeting to formulate a support programme for customers and residents during this time of difficulty and uncertainty. “In view of the projected impact on individuals and businesses across our region, we have agreed to adopt a collective and coordinated approach to help address the economic and social consequences from the pandemic. Consequently, we have agreed that a support programme will be implemented by all member banks in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.
“The programme will facilitate a loan repayment moratorium for an initial period of up to six months with a possible extension upon review. In addition to the deferral of loan repayments, a waiver of late fees and charges will be applicable to eligible customers during this period,” said the release.
Peter Queeley, General Manager of the St. Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union said the issue of deferred loan payments to include principal and interest by local financial institutions was discussed in Friday’s meeting of government and business leaders. The credit union and other local financial institutions are now evaluating their numbers to decide on the package they will role out. The details of which will be released in due course.
Local banks are responsible to advise its customers of the details and process for the support programme. Customers should contact their financial institution directly for more information.
Given the absolute necessity to avoid large gatherings, customers of financial institutions and residents of the Currency Union are strongly encouraged to use digital and online channels as far as possible. These services are offered, without charge, by most financial institutions. As in all situations, the residents must exercise due care and attention including protecting passwords and keys. Please do not share them with anyone, the association advised.
On Montserrat, the local financial institutions have adopted controlled access to reduce the number of people who are within the buildings. The government earlier this week further reduced the numbers allowed to gather from 50 to 25.
To date, Montserrat only has one confirmed case of COVID-19.