Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves presented a bill during Tuesday’s sitting of Parliament to make several amendments to the banking act of 2015.
The revision of the act which was universally enforced across the Eastern Caribbean comes after a review led by the Eastern Caribbean Bank, which took into account feedback outlining various areas of concerns within the banking sector.
Other eastern Caribbean countries have already enacted the revisions which include the harmonisation of language, policy issues, and clarification of terms. The finance minister outlined the drafting revisions that have already been done.
The updated banking act will now impose certain restrictions on activities of the bank including the payment of dividends and unsecured loans given to bank employees.
The act also reverts to its previous guidelines governing the length of an appointment for an external auditor and concurring partner, to every nine and six years respectively. Furthermore, financial institutions that are from the region, but are not Eastern Caribbean Currency Union members, will now have the same license fees as local banks, as they were given the definition of foreign banks and were previously charged as such ,and paid higher fees.
The finance minister also shared additional policy updates including the appointment of directors or officers of financial institutions, and an appeals process for persons discontented with decisions taken by a bank.
Additional policy updates also included amending the secrecy of information provision, the establishment of a bridge bank and strengthening due process for levying penalties against banking institutions.