Categorized | National News

PM Defends BOB

Prime Minister Perry Christie on Monday rushed to defend officials at the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) who have, over the past few weeks, been accused of political favouritism or political involvement in granting loans.

Prime Minister Christie released a short press statement on the issue throwing his “robust support” behind the institution.

“As the 65 per cent majority shareholder of the Bank of The Bahamas, the Government of The Bahamas reaffirms its robust support for the bank,” Mr. Christie said.

“There need be no fear or concern on that score. The bank’s capital position and other fundamentals remain strong. Moreover, the government is satisfied that all necessary steps have already been taken, and will continue to be taken, to ensure that the bank remains in full compliance with all regulatory requirements and prudential banking standards.”

Late last week media reports surfaced in a local tabloid accusing BOB of lining the pockets of some politicians.

In a full page ad in Monday’s Bahama Journal, BOB sought to clear up the stories that it said “have presented a highly distorted, incomplete and inaccurate picture of the true facts.”

“Recent media reports suggesting political favouritism or political involvement in the granting of loans are again simply untrue,” BOB said. “Successive governments, to their credit, have systematically avoided any involvement in credit policies or the granting of credit.”

“Further, virtually all of the loans involving so-called political persons that have been the subject of recent stories in the media were made in the period 2008 to 2012 when these persons were not even in government.”

The BOB press statement added that the loans to such individuals were not personal loans but rather commercial loans in which certain political figures may have been interested as investors or shareholders.

The bank added that it conducts its business in accordance with well-regulated banking principles and standards.

“Recent media reports suggesting excessive unsecured lending practices are simply untrue,” BOB added. “In virtually all cases, our loans are more adequately secured.”

“In any event, the loans in question, although not accurately reported, represent a very small fraction of the bank’s overall loan portfolio and do not in any way constitute a material risk to the overall health and soundness of The Bank of The Bahamas.”

The bank assured its customers, shareholders and the general public that the Bank of The Bahamas is sound and stable and primed for an early return to profitability.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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