Prime Minister Gaston Browne is blaming the persistent issues faced
by clients of the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB) at
the feet of the board of directors.
Many of the bank’s new clientele – who were former Scotiabank
customers – have complained about ECAB’s poor service, including
transaction delays and out-of-service ATMs.
ECAB took over the operations of Scotiabank on September 1, 2021
– after the Canadian bank previously had announced the sale of its
operations to Trinidad and Tobago’s Republic Financial Holdings
Prime Minister Browne had insisted that indigenous banks should
have the right of first refusal and had pushed for Scotiabank to be
purchased by a local institution.
Following the completion of the sale, ECAB sought to integrate
Scotiabank’s customers into its system, but this, according to many
customers, has not been going well.
A number of the bank’s customers spoke to another media house
about their frustration and concerns, and this prompted Browne to
post the article on his Facebook page – with a response.
The prime minister is asking what the directors of the Bank are
doing about what he describes as “this persistent crappy service at
ECAB?” And he is suggesting that “the urgently needed change
should start at the top.”
Browne says that Craig Walter – the chairman of ECAB who, he
claims, has remained silent throughout this frustrating experience –
should be held accountable.
According to Browne, “The time has come for the shareholders of
ECAB to have an extraordinary meeting and demand his (Walter’s)
Critics note that Browne would not accede to calls for his own
resignation from office, but is suggesting that Walter do the
honorable thing and resign.
“If the Chairman and others are not held accountable, with
consequences for their persistent incompetence, they will continue
to treat our people with contempt, offering them inferior banking
services,” Browne says in his Facebook post.
Meanwhile, several ECAB customers tell REAL News this is a case of
“the pot calling the kettle black,” since it was Browne, himself, who
created the problem.
Scotiabank, reportedly the largest bank at the time, was “too big for
ECAB to handle,” they say, and they believe the ECAB board was
“pressured” into the purchase.
They also advise Browne to remember that the success of his tenure
at another local bank “was highly exaggerated” and charge that the
institution eventually “failed.”
Accordingly, they say he should “leave Walter alone and concentrate
on the backpay [to civil servants] and small businesses that his