A critical sector
By Marlon Madden | Wed, May 09, 2012 - 12:00 AM
RBC Royal Bank officials say they remain confident in the financial sector in Barbados and the Caribbean and believe it should continue to have a positive impact on the region’s overall economy.
Horace Cobham, market head of personal banking, Barbados operations, told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY the financial sector remained one of the most important sectors for Barbados and “without it, we are dead”.
“From my perspective, the financial service sector is important for any economy but most importantly, it plays a critical role in the stability and development of Barbados.
“One of the things I think about the Barbados financial sector is that it is extremely strong,” he said.
“So I have enormous comfort in the stability and ability of the financial sector to serve Barbados well, going forward, despite the current difficult economic circumstances,” said Cobham, who is also president of the Barbados Bankers’ Association.
The veteran banker said the difficult economic climate was “clearly a cause for concern”. He said however, commercial banks were being proactive in working with their clients, who were also initiating steps to withstand the ongoing recession.
“At the personal level, individuals are recognizing that they need to reposition themselves to see themselves through this difficult economic climate and they have been coming to the bank and talking about refinancing and debt consolidation, and literally repositioning themselves to be able to meet their obligations. I believe we are well positioned to weather this time,” said Cobham.
He added that “business has not come to a halt, it has just simply declined somewhat. We understand what is happening in the respective businesses and then tailor their financial arrangements to enable them to work through this difficult period”.
David Hackett, Regional President for business banking and Caribbean banking at RBC, said that amidst the “turmoil” in the world’s economy, the region had fared well.
“We continue to be very positive about Barbados and the opportunities and, indeed, the region as a whole,” he said, and there was “a wealth” of opportunities in personal banking, “especially in the mortgage business” and in business banking “in all aspects”.
“One of the sweet spots we plan to develop is the small and medium-sized enterprises, which we think require the assistance. We think we have the expertise, the products and the people to make a valuable contribution in that area,” pledged Hackett.
He said they were also investing heavily in their staff by certifying them “to properly counsel and help people to plan for their [financial] future”.
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