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MP: Banking remains too difficult for Bahamians

Exumas and Ragged Island Member of Parliament Chester Cooper yesterday condemned the continued difficulties Bahamians undergo to bank in The Bahamas, especially with opening accounts.

Cooper, who made the comments during his contribution to the debate of a compendium of financial sector bills in the House of Assembly, specifically the Central Bank of the Bahamas Bill, 2020, said many Bahamians have been left unbanked because it is still “far too difficult” to do banking.

“There is also a problem with our regulatory regime in that we impose these rigid conditions on doing business in this country… onerous KYC [know your client], limiting services, charging for every little thing, even for account holders,” said Cooper.

“Because of the numbers of those unbanked, we support the use of more electronic means of payments inclusive of the new digital currency, the Sand Dollar.

“I am told it is still easier to open an account in Florida as a stranger than to do so at a bank where you had other accounts for twenty-five years.”

He added that Bahamians have also encountered difficulties with the slow processing of wire transfers and high banking fees and charges.

Cooper lauded the government’s move on the digitization of financial services, explaining that it will cause far more financial inclusion for Bahamians, improve the ease of doing business and allow more Bahamians to have ownership in the economy with multiple streams of income.

“Modernization, digitization and regulatory facilitation would get us there more quickly,” he said.

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