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Obadele champion


Harry Russell

Obadele champion

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Oba, boy, you like the Wild Coot, put out to pasture. Your flurry of articles occasioned a rejoinder that contained high and low blows. I think that you should stop while the going is good. Take advice from one whose record you did not break. If you claim to have done that then I shall have to summon old Stanton from the dead.
Low blows proliferated. “Now Oba finds himself in a peculiar situation where he would not even mention the words ‘drug cheats’ ”; “All three of us had run the same time, but I was given second place. I still hold all four of my medals today”; “He needs to give God thanks that in spite of his five-part series and ten pages of challenges he is still an Olympic medallist”. My, oh my!  
I think that Oba has got whatever was bothering him out of his system and should realize that he needs to move on and no medals will come from persisting. I hate to see a good image spoilt and a champion laid low. There is life after athletics. Athletics is only a phase.
The prognostications of our Editor Emeritus and Mr All Ah We Is One are far off the track. If the world does not come to an end on December 20, 2012, then elections will be held in April 2013 – Budget what! You realize that people have to serve out a full term or else more bacchanal and no pension.
There are six months’ salaries between now and then. Six times X equal nearly a million dollars, plus another million for my friend, George, plus $60 million for Mr Al if he accepts, plus $360 million for the CLICO shareholders, plus, plus. We may then have a supplementary Budget before elections in early December. Lord help us!
Did you notice that banks in the United States are raising their fees, especially on ATM use? Forgotten is the argument that customers were encouraged to use ATMs, as their use reduces the pressure on cashiers and clerks, thereby benefiting the banks. Raising fees is a counter by banks to offset losses on the loans portfolio.
There have been considerable losses, judging from the published returns. Shareholders would be pressing for dividends and managers would have to deliver. Interest by some banks of over 40 per cent on credit cards is common, but non-payment and write-offs cut into that profit.
Our Central Bank at one time was interested in having a close look at the charges, especially for keeping savings account balances, and may need to be vigilant in policing this area. We already see reluctance to invest in Government paper, thus forcing the reliance by the Government on National Insurance funds.
Banks therefore are in a quandary as to where to take a risk. People are not in a position to buy cars. This reduces another profitable area in as much as the interest earned on loans for cars has been seriously eroded. The car dealers themselves are offering finance, sometimes on better terms with additional incentives.
So what is left for the banks? I believe that the banks have to return to the old-fashioned way of doing business, trusting managers of branches to have more authority and setting them targets for profitable management of their branch. This involves continuous upgrading of their skills by training courses, an expense that should be more widely used from the cashier to the head honcho.
Government cannot look to banks for help from the savings of Barbadians. If a bank does not have an abundance of savings like the ones that have been here for a long time, any local loans would come from their borrowing from their offices abroad. A bank can only lend out what it has in savings or what it borrows from an affiliate abroad. This puts a different spin on lending if the funds are coming from abroad. What is the status of Barbados? Surely, if we have junk bond status, this may scare some investors!
See why we must not curse Standard & Poor’s or the IMF lady?
• Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]

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