The inconvenience of not have banking services on Virgin Gorda was addressed by newly elected Ninth District Representative and Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon. Vincent Wheatley on 12 March during the swearing in ceremony of the new members of the House of Assembly.
During the campaign season Hon. Wheatley promised that once elected he would tackle the situation; and on Tuesday signaled the intent to address the matter now that he is in office during his contribution in the House of Assembly: “For reasons known and unknown the banks that were operating on our sister islands of Anegada and Virgin Gorda have all ceased operations. Mr. Speaker this is a very vexing and frustrating issue for the people of the Ninth District, but with God’s help we hope to restore banking in short order.”
The seriousness of the banking situation on Virgin Gorda in particular was noted in June 2018 when it was announced that Scotia Bank was closing its Virgin Gorda branch effective from 1 September 2018.
The news was met with worry from Virgin Gorda residents who complained that this would have a bad effect on the community. Indeed, it was announced that the closure meant that for the first time in 20 to 25 years there was no bank on that island.
In recent times Scotia was one of the two remaining banks on Virgin Gorda and its closure came after its counterpart did the same. It was explained that the management of the bank cited profitability issues as the reason for the closure.
Meanwhile the previous administration had disclosed that discussions were underway with the National Bank of the Virgin Islands as well as with Banco Popular regarding the possibility of opening a Virgin Gorda branch.
Following the closure of Scotiabank it was reported that residents have to travel to Tortola to do banking. It was also noted that they are worried that no bank on the island might pose security issues for businesses.