Leader of the Opposition and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie promised to stage a one man protest if he must to ensure that locals are able to get home and business loans as they used to in the past.
While debating the Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Act, 2016, Hon. Fahie bemoaned the fact that it is easier for BV Islanders and Belongers to receive car loans than it is for them to get financing for home and business. He therefore called on the Premier and the Financial Services Commission to intervene.
“In this day, and age it is still easier to get the money for a car than it is to buy land, than it is to get a business — something is wrong with the policy; and it must start from a policy level in government to get these things changed for our people,” Hon. Fahie explained.
The Leader of the Opposition declared: “It’s difficult now to take your land up to the bank and get money from the bank to start a business…unless you have money you can’t get into business…When you analyse it you can get a car financed almost a 100 percent from a bank or even you put down ten percent.”
In announcing that he plans to take the situation seriously, Hon. Fahie declared: “Madame Speaker I will not stop on it till I see a substantial policy or action of the financial services that results in something tangible inside the banks that you can look for, that you can say well I think that we are getting somewhere.”
“We have to move as leaders to get inside the banks, through the same financial services, to sit down with them and say whatever you need financial services will give to you…But what we need from you (Premier), is to go into these banks and sit down with them, as Premier and Minister of Finance, and go through some of the scenarios of our people and come up with better policies by the banks.”
“We can’t dictate, but we can encourage to create an environment that understands that while they are concerned about businesses, people are the ones that we are building this country for…If our businesses start to fade away, if our people start to lose their homes; if all of this starts to happen, that means that other persons out of here will own those businesses, own those lands, own those homes and eventually they will own the country,” Hon. Fahie noted.
In admonishing the Premier to consider intervening the Leader of the Opposition said: “The only way they will understand is when the Head of State says this is what I want for my people…And it must start from a policy level in government to get these things changed or our young people will lose hope.”
In response Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith explained that the de-risking situation and the high fines being levied on banks for compliance matters are part of the reason banks are not giving out loans as before.
Nonetheless Premier Smith said: “I do acknowledge that there is a situation with the banks whereby some loans are not accessible as some…I do agree some discussions are needed –FSC, government, local community and banks as far as local businesses are concerned.”