Saint Kitts And Nevis Holds Talks With US On Correspondent Banking
by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
04 May, 2016
The Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris, has held talks with officials from the United States Department of the Treasury on the "correspondent banking" challenges facing the territory.
Caribbean territories have been seeing foreign banks leave their shores as part of a de-risking process.
The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Timothy Antoine, in a recent press conference said: "We should be very concerned as a region about losing our relationship with other banks... There are in fact some of our banks that have been issued with notices either to have their services terminated or to have their services curtailed," adding that "in some cases the fees have been doubled so that persons have to pay a lot more for the same service."
"What is driving the issue globally is the risk of money laundering and terrorists financing," he said.
Antoine also said that on a recent trip to Washington, he discovered that there is "a genuine concern among some of the bankers that they could be personally liable and they could be sent to jail and because of that they are extremely cautious – especially with the smaller banks – they look at the risk, they look at the cost versus the benefit and they basically decide: it's not worth it."
The Governor of the ECCB said that it is impossible for a bank to survive without relationships especially in an age of wire transfers and that if the region loses its correspondent banking relationships then it would adversely affect sustainable development because it would affect sectors such as tourism, trade, travel, education, and remittances.
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