Government leaders are working overtime to end the fallout from correspondent banks eliminating their services from the region.
Prime Minister The Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris says the issue remains a difficult one for all governments in the area to repair. However, he said additional steps are underway to engage international policy makers on the potential fallout from service withdrawal and how to avoid it.
He told The Observer Wednesday, Sept. 28, that the correspondent banking relations issue has thrown cost pressures into the system while heightening the stress of doing business. He also said 16 banks have been affected. Several have had their correspondent banking relationships displaced or forcing them to make significant payments to maintain those relationships. He made his remarks at the recent 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Dr. Harris said government officials in the region have adopted a multi-prong approach to dealing with the problem that includes lobbying the U.S. government and Treasury Department.
Earlier this year, Timothy Antoine, governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank told this newspaper he and his deputy had engaged the U.S. on the matter and would continue. At one meeting, officials had asked the government to tell them what possible fallout could be expected from de-risking.
The Prime Minister said, “We are also pursuing round-table discussion on the matter with authorities impacted by the issue hoping we can crystalize with the forces on issues that led to pressure on the financial sector.”
He said it is still a work in progress and added that the government will not stop until the issue is fully resolved. He also stated that all resources would be pooled and the lobbying bodies would be brought together to solve the issue.