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Banks/Government Meet to Improve Customer Services and Enhance Security

Acting Governor, Her Excellency, Anya Williams, Premier Honourable Charles Washington Misick, and Deputy Premier and Minister for Finance, Investment and Trade, the Honourable Erwin J. Saunders met with members of the Turks and Caicos Islands Banking Association at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales on Tuesday October 19.

Also in attendance were members of the executive team from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, Acting Commissioner of Police Kendall Grant, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Darron Williams and Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Willette Harvey.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss customer security and other concerns as it relates to the banking sector. Insights were given into the investigation of recent criminal activities in the islands that are believed to be linked to banking activities.

A commitment was made between the Banking Association and the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force to strengthen their investigative measures in hopes of creating better outcomes and a faster resolution rate. Both parties are very concerned for the safety of the general public and plan to have more frequent dialogue on clientele safety and other matters going forward.

The Acting Governor reiterated the importance and the need for banks, commercial banks especially, to improve the security arrangements for their operation as well as the technical and human resources needed to prevent long lines; which can contribute to vulnerability to opportunistic criminals for targeted crime. H.E. Williams also highlighted the importance of the mandatory vetting process for both security and bank personnel before being hired.

The Acting Commissioner of Police, Sergeant Grant, promised to increase patrols in and around the vicinity of banking facilities during the day and evening to reinforce security and boost customer confidence in banking security in the islands.

Discussions were also held around the issue of customer service, family island operations, and the need to establish an Automated Clearing House (ACH; a service that would allow local banking systems to speak to each other through technology, clear checks same day, and better allow transfer of funds between banks.

The government explained to the association that customer service in banks have drastically decreased in the past years. The Acting Governor stressed the need to improve and return services to the islands of North and South Caicos.

Scotia Bank executives were also asked to review the agreement made for services on Grand Turk. The Deputy Premier assured the association of the government’s eagerness to assist in whichever way is needed to enhance technology for the banking sector.

President of the Banking Association and Branch Manager for the Royal Bank of Canada, Mr. Marcus Samuel, welcomed all of the ideas and concerns expressed by the government. Mr. Samuel also explained the banks’ mandate to increase promotion of cashless banking and the use of technologies available to help safeguard the customer experience. Mr. Samuel further explained that the association will need the help of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government to increase public education on the benefits of banking technology and the banks’ plan to make it more affordable for its retail customer.

Finally, the Premier explained the strong position his administration is taking as it relates to crime and banking services in the TCI. Premier Misick reminded banks of TCIG’s financial position and his willingness to use it as leverage to get fairer treatment of citizens in this country and their ability to access capital.

Representation from the banking sector included: CIBC First Caribbean, Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada, Turks and Caicos Banking, Bordier Bank and British Caribbean Bank.



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