Security banks’ priority
EXECUTIVE?CHAIRMAN?MICHAEL?MANSOOR of FirstCaribbean International Bank has made it abundantly clear that banks are simply not in the business of providing start-up capital.
Mansoor said banks had to be “very careful about the security of people’s money”.
“It is not the business of universal bankers such as we are to go out and bet on projects in industries that have not established themselves because at the end of the day, you’re playing with depositors’ money.
“It is very important that we lend money within our risk profiles that give us a reasonable chance [to] get it back so we can pay our money back to depositors when we are called upon,” Mansoor said during a cocktail reception to launch the ninth annual Caribbean MBA Conference at Hilton Barbados on Wednesday.
The chartered accountant and former partner at Ernst & Young Trinidad and Tobago noted that the foremost responsibility of a bank was to satisfy depositor liabilities.
He said assisting in new business is the role of venture capital funds, developmental banks and other institutions which “attract the kind of capital that could be put into that type of risk-profile investment”.
Turning his attention to regional economies, Mansoor said he was not as pessimistic as many other commentators.
He said while many industries were feeling the pinch of reduced demand, “things will pick up” this year and investment and growth would return gradually.
“What we really need is foreign direct investment in these islands and vibrant business activity, because it’s foreign direct investment that provides the impetus for growth,” he said. (NB)