Government Tables Controversial Banking Bill

Government Tables Controversial Banking Bill LK Hewlett Story Updated: June 30th 2015 at 10:21 am
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon Dr. Timothy Harris will this morning introduce the controversial Banking Bill, 2015. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank proposed legislative action calls for stricter regulations for financial institutions, including credit unions. It also requires banks to up their deposit insurance and increase the level of reserved capital. Under the proposed bill the ECCB would have a say in who owns controlling shares in these institutions. Additionally, the legislation seeks to establish a single banking space where once a financial institution is granted a license in one of the ECCU countries, it can operate in all the others without having to apply for licenses from those governments. After the bill was passed in April, banks employees in Antigua expressed their strong objection by going on strike, saying the Act wrested power from the local government and was unconstitutional. Other ECCU member states have passed the bill without conflict. While there has been no public expression of concern from the local banking sector, a source indicated that not all financial institutions in the Federation are happy with the impending legislation as it would give the ECCB ‘too much control” over banks. The Bill speaks to the requirements, granting and revocation of licenses for financial institutions, permissible activities, ownership structures, supervision, corporate governance, receivership and compulsory liquidation, among other components. The Banking Bill 2015 is expected to get three readings and passed in today’s National Ass embly sitting.