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NCA President Says Banks Acting Like A Colonial Master

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The President of Saint Lucia‘s National Consumers Association (NCA) has called out local banks over poor customer service and unilateral customer requirements, accusing the lending institutions of behaving like a colonial master.

“The Banks must have consultation. It’s not a big stick approach. It’s like the Banks are behaving like a colonial master now. It’s like they put the rules and we just have to abide. It cannot be so,” Dr. Thecla Fitz-Lewis declared Friday.

Fitz-Lewis spoke days after Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre expressed concern over reports that an unnamed local bank would move towards cashless transactions.

Reassuring the public, the Finance Minister pledged to take action, promising parliament that he would raise the matter with his regional counterparts.

Dr. Thecla Fitz-Lewis echoed Pierre’s concern and his call for the bank to re-examine its policy.

She also underscored the need for consultation on the cashless transaction issue.

She told St. Lucia Times that banks usually impose conditions on customers without consultation.

“I am endorsing what the Prime Minister said in the House. How could you tell this 70-year-old lady that she has to get an ATM card ?” The NCA President said.

Fitz-Lewis recalled that she had challenges when a bank implemented a new high-tech ATM system without educating customers regarding its use or having a media awareness program on its rollout.

“The Banks have to understand that it is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and not because we are in a technological age, you can decide to implement cashless transactions and shove services down people’s throats,” the NCA President told the St. Lucia Times.

She explained that Bank customers are not limited to educated, tech-savvy individuals.

In addition, the NCA official asserted that some Bank transactions cannot occur online.

Fitz-Lewis disclosed that Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte had a consultation this week with the NCA, the Chamber of Commerce, and all banks to discuss customer concerns.

The concerns included long queues, poor customer service, and situations where, at peak times, only two tellers are available.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. What is with the slavery language in every press release now ? When people use these terms in the wrong context or situation it diminishes the significance of this dark time, please stop it.

  2. Take away our mortgage and car loans from the banks and we will see how they will make money . You can never cut the middle class off. I hope the credit unions destroy that banking sector in st.lucia .

  3. @Highgrade, point taken. Colonialism is not all about slavery; but they share the same down-presser man philosophy. Both local and foreign banks behave like colonial masters. They use our money to treat us, their customers worse than cattle.

  4. At last, an article which makes absolute sense!

    The other solution – which banks do not like to hear, or know about – CREDIT UNIONS!! Credit Unions are membership based and owned by members. They also have lower interest rates. Yes they their R&Rs which are fair and “human based”. They also have ATM’s and debit cards.

    I usually advise young people, especially those starting out with their own business, to become a Credit Union member.

  5. About 10 years ago I withdraw all my money from the bank and open an account with the credit union

  6. Personally, I like to try new things and I have an appetite to welcome change. The banks have a duty to remain competitive in this financial environment . They can continue to conduct business the way they do and continue to charge customers huge service charge or they can come up with ways to reduce service charges and get the same results with great profit margin. One of the ways they appear to be going is using machines. This is definitely more efficient and cost effective.
    Having said this, I believe they should give customers a chance to adjust to the changes. They should have both models to conduct business at the bank for some time. They should also conduct sessions to help customers with such transition. I do not expect the banks not to implement changes. The next big change is the implementation of Artificial Intelligence. This is where it can get complicated
    The mention of colonialism is pure nonsense and ignorance. Someone is trying to keep our nation backwards as usual. This time they cannot point the finger on one person but at an institution – Good Luck on that one. The banks can cut SLU out and still make their profits

  7. Politicians have done a number on us. Notwithstanding the legitimacy of her point but look how easily racially charged language is slid into a conversation about banks. There are a number of ways this same message could have been conveyed without equating the banks actions to the horrors of slavery.

  8. @lAB while I agree with you and always support the Credit Union philosophy and principles especially the member based aspect, The Credit Unions remain at the mercy of the banks. The Credit Unions actually perform like supermarkets with the banks being the dumping ground for their cash. There is NO Central clearing facility and many of the products that the banks offer the Credit Union cannot offer as a result of regulations. For example, the Credit Unions cannot open business accounts, cannot transact in foreign currency other than US.
    The minister of finance could stop the talk and insist by way of Legislation that either restrictions are placed on the banks or engage the Credit Unions to allow for amendment to the existing Cooperative Bill or the one that is currently lying in wait for action.
    Thecla Fitz- Consultation is only required with the shareholders no one else.

  9. I personally like the heading, “Banks Acting Like A Colonial Master” banks habitually treat its customers like a piece of garbage after they take your money to maintain their institution. SUSU is one method to do away with the banks, I’ve heard of some SUSU groups giving each other member loads/upfront hand once you’re in it for how long, some even provide opportunities for groceries. Banks often hide behind the term anti money laundering, propelled it as a big crime, but hey business is business at the end of the day. Let them go digital that’s their grave they are digging. A new thing that is now popping up in certain European countries is digital equity, that means you now have a value base on your knowledge and deliverance. Now one can put a value to your intellectual capacity, no need to spend 6-10 years to earn a Phd and work for pennies, hands on experience worth more, so if you are a painter you have equity value base on the quality of work you put out and represent. Bare in mind it have a backlash because you can be equally liable if you don’t do the job as expected. By the way Colonial is not bind to slavery it mostly means you don’t have much choices once you step into the circle. USA practice Colonialism and Bullish behavior every second goes by daily to the globe, that is why President Trump is exposing their corrupted practices. Great leaders went to jail and came out back as world hero’s, I believe Trump is one, exposing their dirty behavior for the world to see.

  10. @Straight – I side with you on SOME of your observations. Remember, all our financial institutions are under the umbrella of a larger unit. Unfortunately, the lo financial institutions are unable to do “their own thing”, and fall under the ‘bots of these large institutions, not taking into account GDP, country and population size.
    And fortunately, the Caribbean Credit Unions fall under the umbrella of the “Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions” who make decisions for everyone. The CCCU has run afoul of the ECCB on some issues = and are still fighting them, especially under the “fraudulent act” … and here I stop!

  11. i sincerely wish the PM good luck when he faces other Caribbean leaders on this topic. He has to take into account the larger countries: Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad – and even tiny Barbados whose population is larger than ours, has to deal with a larger population, and more sophisticated ways of dealing with their financial institutions.

  12. These things are happening because the true problems caused and causing these situations are based on the history of lending. Many have good business proposals and “friends” at the banks who take massive loans and leave the island letting the bank suffer and 10 years later nothing to show for and nothing and regain from lost loans and I insurances must be paid back for lost funds. The true loan payers have it hard because of this and sometimes one mistake leave you stranded by the banks and the same theives come back and loans are granted.

  13. Th clanFitz shame on you. You of all people who profess to have a PhD (which is highly questionable) can utter such garbage about banks behaving like colonial masters!

    You could have said it

  14. Continuing my unfinished comment;:

    Thecla you could have said it differently instead of spewing the garbage you did:

    Heranan example of what you could have said as a so called intelligent “academic”:

    Shame on you for that foolish comment: read the following to yourself and next time think before you talk nonsense:

    While digital banking offers convenience and efficiency, it also poses significant risks to consumers. Many customers face challenges such as data breaches, fraud, and inadequate customer support. The lack of personal interaction can also lead to misunderstandings and a feeling of isolation for those less tech-savvy. It is crucial for banks to enhance security measures, provide comprehensive support, and ensure that all customers, regardless of their digital literacy, are protected and valued.”

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