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Sure signs of recovery


Sure signs of recovery

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Barbados will have to do without the “heady days” of major economic growth for now, but senior banker Ian De Souza says the signs of recovery are clear.

The Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited chief executive officer and managing director also said that despite the difficult climate his organisation was doing “pretty good”.

De Souza was speaking last Thursday as the bank launched its new suite of chip and pin credit cards, becoming the first bank operating in Barbados to introduce these cards with enhanced security features.

Speaking to the media afterwards, he said there were signs that Barbados economic recovery was continuing, although growth was unlikely to reach pre-crisis levels in the near future.

“In my view, it is not going to be anything like the heady, heady days of [2005, 2006, or 2007], we are living in what is the new normal for Barbados, very measured growth, but I think you are going to see the growth, there are some good measures that have been taken,” he said.

“The Central Bank’s removal of the minimum savings rate…what that has done is that it has caused the banks to adjust the rates on savings to reflect the demand for credit.

“The demand for credit is still relatively slack, so that we have reduced the rates on deposits, but as you reduce the rates on deposits that will have a drag on lending rates, as lending rates come down things become more affordable and people will then make investment decisions.”

De Souza added: “So you add that to the mix [and] it can only, from my experience, translate into recovery and economic development, not at four, five, six or seven per cent, obviously, but certainly in the one [to] two per cent in the near term and we keep going at that rate. That is what I am seeing and that is what I think will happen.”

In terms of Republic’s performance in Barbados, the bank boss said: “We are coming in, I think, pretty good for this last financial year”.

He praised management and staff, adding: “I think we are in a good place as an organisation, the team is strong, the mood of the organisation is very good…come September 30, I will be anxious to hear what our financial controller has to say but I think the news will be good.”