Governor Timothy N.J. Antoine of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank encouraged customers of Bank of Montserrat Ltd. to consider the current transition phase as the turbulence an aircraft experiences as it is climbing to a higher altitude and for patience as the institution works to improve its services.
The governor was responding to a question from the Alliouagana Express during the press conference held at the conclusion of the 99th Meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. During this meeting, Montserrat took over the chairmanship role for the first time in ten years.
ECCU Chairman Premier Joseph Farrell said Bank of Montserrat is going through a teething problem as it works to adjust its operations to accommodate the Royal Bank of Canada customers, since acquiring the local branch in April. Farrell said RBC was to transfer its credit card arrangements but that did not happen. He added that not being able to go to the ATM and withdraw cash from a credit card has “implications for the development of our economy and the tourism sector.”
Customers have been complaining of long lines both inside and outside the bank. The loss of the RBC ATM which allowed for cash withdrawals from Visa and other credit cards is a sore point for many. Currently, customers can only make withdrawals by going into the bank during operating hours.
Premier Farrell said his government has made a commitment to work with BOM to resolve the issues.
The Government of Montserrat has raised the issue with the ECCB and Governor Antoine said his organisation is committed to working with all of the region’s indigenous banks. “Part of the solution is a coming together of the indigenous banks to deliver the services.” Antoine said they are working with the indigenous banks on the creation of a shared services platform for risk and compliance. He said what was needed was a functional cooperation agreement between the national banks to spread the costs and lower risks which will lead to improved services to customers.
Governor Antoine called for the “people of Montserrat to be patient” and said things “will improve. Whenever you do a takeover like that it is a big deal. It does require a big transition. The staff and management worked very hard to acquire RBC and they had to work hard in the transition phase. Things will settle and customers will see improved services. ECCB stands ready to support BOM and continues to support all our indigenous banks.”