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News Article
Banks write-off 45min loans
June 01, 2011
Banks write-off 45min loans

Bahamian commercial banks collectively wrote-off $45 million in loans during the first four months of 2011, data published yesterday by the Central Bank of the Bahamas revealed, with industry loan loss provisions hitting $284.7 million.

The Central Bank's monthly report on economic developments for April showed that the commercial banks increased loan loss provisions by $11.3 million during that month, increasing their ratio to total credit arrears and non-performing loans to 24.3 per cent and 42.1 per cent, respectively.

The banking industry write-off a further $12.7 million in delinquent loans during April, bringing this total to $45 million. ...

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

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News Article

May 02, 2014
Minnis alleges govt witch-hunt against Cash

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis last night accused the government of directing the police to carry out a "political witch-hunt" on FNM Chairman Darron Cash because of his recent critique of "evolving scandals" surrounding Bank of The Bahamas.
Minnis said the FNM will not sit back and allow the state to subject Cash to a "fishing expedition".
"The matter has been taken to the Supreme Court and we await the court's ruling," said Minnis during a press briefing following an emergency FNM meeting at the party's Mackey Street headquarters.
The meeting came hours after three police officers showed up at Cash's Cable Beach home with a warrant and seized two laptops and a smartphone, reportedly as part of a probe into the alleged leak of confidential information from Bank of The Bahamas.
"The FNM will not stand for the apparent political assault on its national chairman, which is purely a smoke screen and deflection away from the very real, pressing and serious issue and chronic problems facing our nation," Minnis said last night. "...Democracy is under siege and we will not be silenced."
Attorney Carl Bethel, who represents Cash, told The Guardian that he filed a notice of originating motion in the Supreme Court yesterday, which will begin the process of determining whether the police followed lawful protocol in the execution of their duties.
Cash has spoken out on several matters related to BOB in the last several months.
He released a series of press statements on issues regarding the bank.
In one of those statements, he raised concerns about reports that the bank was being used as a political tool and called for a select committee to be established in the House of Assembly to scrutinize the extent to which public funds are at risk at BOB.
Both Prime Minister Perry Christie and BOB Managing Director Paul McWeeney strongly denied that the bank's funds were at risk.
BOB pledged to sue The Punch newspaper, which has repeatedly made these allegations at the bank, and it announced several weeks ago that it was investigating the leak.
Last night, Minnis said Cash was merely calling attention to an issue that was already in the public domain.
"The lapses and failures of the present government to investigate and correct the apparent abuses and negligence of the Bank of the Bahamas is shameful and has been properly criticized and highlighted by our national chairman, but also by others who made disclosure to newspapers," Minnis said.
"Is our chairman being targeted because he has been a passionate critic of the government's inept handling of the Bank of the Bahamas and because his wife happens to work at the institution?"
Minnis said the whole matter is a gross invasion of Cash's privacy.

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News Article

May 07, 2013
Nassau Conference Student Essay Competition launched

Following the success of the 2012 Nassau Conference, held October 10, 2012, the Association of International Banks & Trust Companies (AIBT) has once again partnered with the Ministry of Financial Services and The College of The Bahamas (COB) to launch the 2013 Nassau Conference Essay Competition, leading in to this year's event.
At the 2012 Nassau Conference, AIBT selected ten students who will, this summer, be engaged in a six-week paid internship at the following member companies:
o Corner Bank & Trust Ltd.
o Credit Suisse AG Trust Ltd.
o Pictet Bank & Trust Ltd.
o Societe General Private Banking (Bahamas) Ltd
o The Private Trust Corporation Ltd.
o The St. James Bank & Trust (Bahamas) Ltd.
o The Winterbotham Trust Company Ltd.
o UBS (Bahamas) Ltd.
o The Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company (Bahamas) Ltd.
A protocol workshop for the students will be conducted prior to the start of the internships, covering the soft skills required to prepare them for successful engagements with the companies and position them to get the most out of the program.
For this year's essay competition, COB will provide a list of twenty one students across academic disciplines in banking, financial services and related fields of study, who will be invited to submit a 500-word essay on the 2013 conference theme "The shift has occurred. How are you positioned?"
A selection committee will interview each of the short-listed candidates, rate their essays and consider other criteria including community involvement, special interests and extracurricular activities. A total of ten students will be chosen to attend the 2013 Nassau Conference and participate in the 2014 summer Internships. Further, two students will be selected to attend a Spanish Language Emersion Programme in Mexico sponsored by the AIBT.
"This is an opportunity for students to not only experience a world-class conference, but also to gain valuable real-world experience and skills," said Antoinette Russell, Nassau Conference chairperson and deputy chair of AIBT, the founding sponsor of The Nassau Conference. She added: "The conference and the related AIBT efforts continue to expose the next generation of leaders to this dynamic and vital sector and help continue the country's leadership as a financial services center.
"This initiative underscores the ongoing commitment of AIBT, and its members and partners, to the continued growth of the sector by promoting the development of the next generation of leaders and industry professionals."

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News Article

May 31, 2012
Scotiabank Stella Maris branch incident

LONG ISLAND, Bahamas -- Scotiabank today reported an armed robbery at its Stella Maris branch in Long Island. The Bank reported that on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at about 10:30 a.m., the Bank was robbed by two armed robbers of an undetermined amount of cash. Bank management have confirmed that there were no injuries sustained by staff or customers.
"Due to the nature of our business, a robbery is always a possibility. But, we assure the public of our commitment to security and to the safety of our customers and employees. We are working with the Royal Bahamas Police Force in their investigation of this matter." Bank operations in the Stella Maris branch were suspended for the day and normal banking are operations expected to resume next Monday, June 4, 2012.

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News Article

April 10, 2012
E-commerce pioneer launches Ezminutes.com

An old favorite in the Bahamian marketplace has been given a modern spin.
Ezminutes.com, a business recently launched by Nekia Brice, is tapping into the lesser-known e-commerce sector. And so far, the approach appears to be working. To date, more than 10,000 phone cards have been sold online as a result of Ezminutes.com.
Brice told Guardian Business that Ezminutes.com allows anyone from anywhere in the world to instantly purchase a phone card, using any internet-enabled device.
She said the company has already begun to lead the way in The Bahamas' e-commerce industry.
"We are at the dawn of the internet age here, in order for businesses to be able to compete in the future they would need to incorporate internet technology or be left with no business at all," according to Brice.
"With The Bahamas being an offshore jurisdiction for financial services, it is prime for an e-commerce boom in the near future. We want businesses to know that yes it is possible to obtain a Bahamian merchant account for accepting credit cards online. Once setup, the funds are cleared in a local bank account.
"Ezminutes.com is a Bahamian online small business which operates solely through e-commerce. We have proven it is possible and we hope to inspire others."
She pointed out that Ezminutes.com is optimized for easy navigation and few clicks from any mobile device, tablet or computer. Customers receive the pins on the website instantly once a purchase is complete. Purchases can be made using any visa or master, debit or credit card.
Brice revealed to Guardian Business due to the company's local success, plans are underway to expand to other countries. She hopes to launch a similar service in the UK by the end of 2012.
Once completed, customers will also be able to purchase UK top up vouchers for all major mobile providers, including T-Mobile, Vodafone, 02, Orange and Three.
Brice said this service will primarily target customers in the UK and anyone outside of the UK who wishes to keep their UK prepaid mobile number active.
Ezminutes.com is a product of Websoft E-Business Solutions, which provides consulting and development of online businesses in The Bahamas and throughout the world.
Brice's success comes as manager of e-commerce at MWF Group Bahamas, Damien Forsythe, recently told Guardian Business that the country is still missing out on a golden opportunity to cash in on the e-commerce sector.
Forsythe encouraged banks to provide more merchant services, as it would not only help local businesses grow but also help the overall economy by embracing this sector.
"I don't know if they are aware of the potential of those types of services," he said.
"They have really held back local businesses that want to sell online domestically and internationally. I think the banks are not thinking about it and have not been forced to think about it," he shared.
Bank of The Bahamas announced in February that it plans to launch a formal e-commerce program in the coming months.

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News Article

August 14, 2014
Central Bank sees 'mild' economic momentum but worsening debt challenges

A recent report from The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBB) for June indicates "mild economic momentum" in the domestic economy and a reduced government deficit, while issues continued to plague the mortgage and loan market. CBB released its Economic and Financial Developments report for the month of June 2014 on Monday, which shows mildly positive growth for the local economy and a decrease in the deficit supported by modest gains in tourism output, stable foreign investment-led project activity and declining unemployment rates over the past six months. The report argues that further improvement in the government's deficit hinged on the pace of the economic recovery and government expanding into other sectors, citing the upcoming implementation of a value-added tax (VAT) as a significant revenue generating measure for the government. "Additional revenue gains should also accrue from the successful implementation of several new measures -- the most significant of which is the [VAT]," reads the report. The report also suggests that inflation remained "relatively benign", despite rising energy costs, stating: "In the near-term, domestic inflation is poised to remain benign, although on-going instability in several oil producing markets could lead to higher international oil prices over the medium term, which could exert upward pressure on local energy costs."June saw an increase in people defaulting on their loans. Total private sector loan delinquencies grew by $20.2 million (1.5 percent), up to $1,359.5 million. Delinquencies in the short-term, 31-90 day segment, grew by $8.7 million (2.5 percent) to $359.1 million. The value of arrears in excess of 90 days also grew $11.5 million (1.2 percent) to $1 billion.However, mortgage woes proved particularly discouraging, with growth in total mortgage delinquencies expanding by $9.8 million (1.4 percent) to $725 million, as both the short-term and non-performing segments grew by $6.3 million (3.3 percent) and $3.5 million (0.7 percent), respectively. "Consumer arrears also rose, by $6.1 million (2.4 percent) to $266.8 million, due to a $3.9 million (4.4 percent) increase in 31-90 day delinquencies and a $2.2 million (1.3 percent) rise in non-accrual loans. The commercial component advanced by $4.2 million (1.2 percent) to $367.7 million, as the $5.7 million (2.0 percent) increase in the non-performing category, outpaced the $1.5 million (2.1 percent) decline in short-term delinquencies," says the report. Banks increased their loan loss provisions, by $51 million (9.8 percent), to $568.8 million due to the continued deterioration in credit quality. Because of this, the ratio of provisions to both arrears and non-performing loans grew to 41.8 percent and 56.9 percent, respectively. Banks also wrote-off approximately $7.1 million in delinquent loans, and recovered an estimated $3.4 million. CBB reported that amid concerns surrounding weak employment numbers and business conditions, credit to the private sector fell during the month by $34.1 million, below the prior year's $64.4 million contraction. Mortgages also declined by $11.0 million to $31.7 million. However, consumer credit recovered by $8.6 million, from a $23.8 million reduction last year.CBB ultimately noted that its policies remained largely unchanged, given the mild improvements to the economy.

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News Article

August 26, 2010
FirstCaribbean scoops Best Bank title

FirstCaribbean International Bank Bahamas has been awarded Best Bank in The Bahamas in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2010.

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News Article

March 18, 2012
Harajchi bank clients still eye 19.217m 'loss'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

MORE than 11 years after Mohammed Harajchi's Suisse Security Bank & Trust was put under court supervision, its depositors and creditors have yet to recover a single cent, and are still staring at a collective $19.217 million "potential loss".

The main reason they continue to face such a sizeable 'black hole' is because the liquidator has still been unable to recover the $17.717 million that the Harajchis and the bank's management team spirited out of the Bahamas in the days immediately following the Central Bank of the Bahamas' decision to suspend, then revoke, Suisse Security's licence.

Raymond Winder, managing p ...

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News Article

November 25, 2010
Central Bank to issue revised guidelines on lage exposures

Proposed changes to the management of large exposures are on the way, with the Central Bank of The Bahamas focusing on staying aligned with global standards.

A review of the proposed changes has already been completed, and the Central Bank intends to issue revised guidelines. One of the suggested modifications is the provision of a level of responsibility for the boards of directors of banks.
"The purpose of the review was to strengthen and clarify the guidance, where necessary, and to ensure that The Bahamas' rules remain consistent with international best practices in this area," according to a draft of the proposed changes. "The revisions to the guidelines primarily seek to ...

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News Article
PM's intervention 'has not harmed integrity of banking industry'
April 14, 2014
PM's intervention 'has not harmed integrity of banking industry'

PRIME Minister Perry Christie's bid to assist embattled tax consultant Ishmael Lightbourne has not threatened the integrity of the banking industry, according to RBC Bahamas managing director Nathaniel Beneby...

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News Article

March 08, 2012
Web shop owner in 27m bank rescue

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

BAHAMAS-based web shop boss, Craig Flowers, along with BISX-listed Bank of the Bahamas International, were both separately approached to rescue a bust Turks & Caicos bank that required a $27 million injection to recapitalise it, Tribune Business can reveal.

The involvement of Mr Flowers, a well-known businessman and head of the FML Group of Companies, was disclosed in a report to the Turks & Caicos Islands' courts by the Bahamian liquidators for TCI Bank, Anthony Kikivarakis and Mark Munnings, the Deloitte & Touche (Bahamas) partners and accountants.

The report, obtained by Tribune Business, said that "the following persons/entities we ...

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News Article
BFSB Reveals 2012 Award Nominees
October 22, 2012
BFSB Reveals 2012 Award Nominees

The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) is celebrating the 12th anniversary of its Industry Excellence Awards Programme at a Gala Awards Banquet on Friday, November 9.

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News Article

October 17, 2011
Jarrett challenges CB findings

Retired top banker Al Jarrett is challenging a recent Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBB) assertion that inflationary pressure on the economy has been "benign", charging that current data tells a different story.
Jarrett is saying the CBB must be relying on stale data, as the most recent numbers out of the Department of Statistics are painting a more troubling picture of the year-on-year growth in consumer prices.  The CBB's governor, Wendy Craigg, was reported to have said that inflation was not a concern for the Bahamian economy, estimating it would come in at just over two percent for the year.
"I'm using the current trend and inflation is not benign if it increased to 3.5 percent this year," Jarrett said.  "[The Governor's] number of 2.1 percent is way off the mark.  I do see inflation as a concern."
In the CBB's August 2011 MEFD, inflationary pressures were described as being "relatively benign, although impacted by the recent firming in global oil prices".
The report cited inflation for the twelve months to June firmed by 0.9 points to 2.1 percent.
According to the Department of Statistics, the annual percentage change in The Bahamas all items index was 3.9 percent for July.  For January through July, the rate has increased each month, the percentage growth coming in at 2.1, 2.4, 3.0, 3.1, 3.5 and 3.6 for consecutive months from January through June.
Inflation is on an upward trajectory with nothing likely to alter its direction before the end of the year, according to Jarrett.  Higher oil and gas prices, along with increases in margin allowances to petroleum retailers, will tend to worsen the true impact of inflation on the economy, according to Jarrett.
Data for the retired banker's analysis covers up to September, he said.  The $0.10 and $0.15 increases in gas and diesel to retail distributors did not come into effect until this month.
The impact of that inflation on the budget ended June 2011 will be to "wipe-out" any growth there, he said, along with current growth projections of one to two percent.  For economists and statisticians, inflation is used to adjust the performance of gross domestic product from one period to the next.  It gives a context to understand how the economy is really expanding or contracting.  In the case of a salary, as the cost of living rises, an individual gets less bang for his buck.  The same principle applies on a national level.
But Jarrett was complimentary of what he described as a more "realistic and somber" position taken by Craigg, as reported last week.
He agreed with the negative implications for GDP growth drawn from the weak U.S. economy, itself struggling to achieve a meaningful recovery and substantial job growth.  Likewise, he agreed that the strong foreign currency reserves held by the Central Bank heading into the Christmas Season signaled poor consumer demand.  Merchants are not triggering major draws on the foreign currency position because consumers are not spending, due in large part to high unemployment, he said.
The former Bahamas Electricity Corporation chairman, however, was more pessimistic about when there would be a broad economic and employment recovery than Craigg's reported estimate of up to two years.
"There is nothing in the economy now that is going to cause any turn-around in two years," Jarrett said.
He estimated two-and-a-half years, or sometime in early 2014, is a more realistic timeframe for broad recovery.
A serious challenge to any meaningful interpretation of the data has been the absence of key reports and information, however.  In the case of tourism arrival data, for example, Jarrett said he was "extremely disappointed" that they have not been made available for any period since April 2011.
Guardian Business has been pursuing those numbers for several weeks. On Thursday afternoon, a Ministry of Tourism manager told Guardian Business they would likely be released late today for the period up to the end of August.
Similarly, Jarrett said he was still waiting for the results of the first quarter of the government's fiscal year to do some "hard analysis".  He said he expected that the lack of both sets of data suggested poor tourism sector and government budgetary performance.
The data, whenever released, will be the judge of that, but Jarrett said the key was that the Bahamian public has been deprived of the benefit of that information.  He commended the Department of Statistics for their 'openness and cooperativeness' in supplying data.

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News Article

November 02, 2011
Men acquitted in bank robbery trial

Accused bank robber James Miller is $5,000 richer after a judge ordered that money seized from him shortly after a heist at the Bank of The Bahamas in 2003 be given back.Presiding judge Roy Jones made the order yesterday for the return of the funds after directing a jury to acquit Miller and his three co-accused of the charges at the close of the prosecution's case.

Prosecutors alleged that Miller, Dwayne Henderson, Sean Lightbourne and Jamal Armbrister were responsible for the holdup at the East Bay Street branch of the bank shortly before it opened on January 27, 2003.

The culprits made off with $25,000 after they ordered two tellers to hand over the money at gunpoint. The men were accused of the armed robbery and conspiracy to commit the crime.

Miller alone was accused of receiving $5,380 that formed part of the stolen money. Police alleged that they saw Miller jettisoning the money from his pockets while in the Sea Breeze Canal.

However, Justice Jones agreed with a no case to answer submission made by defense lawyer Murrio Ducille, who represented Henderson and Lightbourne.

Candice McPhee, for Miller, and Perry Albury, for Armbrister, adopted Ducille's arguments that the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence to support its case.

Henderson and Lightbourne were on bail during the trial. However, Armbrister and Miller remain in custody on other charges.

Kristan Forbes and Aaron Johnson prosecuted.

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Event
Annual Counterfeit Banknote Detection Seminar

Thursday 27th March 2014  10:00 AM

The Central Bank of The Bahamas presents The Annual Counterfeit Banknote Detection Seminar. When: Thursday, March 27, 2014 Where: The Central Bank of The Bahamas Training Room, Market Street and Trinity Place Entrance Time: 10:00am-11:00am (for Bankers and law enforcement) 12:00 noon-1:00pm (for general public) Apply by: March 25, 2014 As space is limited we wish to urge persons to confirm their attendance by contacting representative of the Banking Department of The Central Bank of The Bahamas at telephone numbers: 302-2629/302-2622.


News Article

February 29, 2012
'SEVERAL HUNDRED MERCHANT' CLIENT BASE FOR BANK'S E-COMMERCE PLAN

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

BANK of the Bahamas International is eyeing an initial client base of "several hundred" Bahamian merchants for the planned launch of its e-commerce platform in six months' time, telling Tribune Business yesterday that the private sector was "crying out" for such online services.

Paul McWeeney, the BISX-listed institution's managing director, said the facility - part of its expanded electronic banking platform - would enable Bahamian retailers and other companies to establish online merchant accounts and receive payment for goods sold via the Internet.

Explaining that the bank's e-commerce platform would "add value...

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News Article

September 28, 2012
Scotiabank signs on as a Presidential Partner in Colina's 19th Annual Red Ribbon Ball

Nassau, Bahamas - Colina
Insurance Limited is pleased once again to welcome Scotiabank as a Presidential
Partner in the 19th Annual Red Ribbon Ball in support of The Bahamas AIDS
Foundation.

Leah Davis,
Senior Manager, Marketing, Product and Public Relations and Jim Wilson, Vice
President Corporate & Commercial Banking at Scotia recently met with
members of the Red Ribbon Ball Committee to present them with the bank's
contribution...

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Event
Royal Bank of Canada Wow Wednesday
Royal Bank of Canada Wow Wednesday

Wednesday 15th August 2012  9:00 AM

Wow! Wednesday Deals that make you say, "wow!" Come and experience "Wow! Wednesday" with RBC Royal Bank and RBC FINCO! Visit any RBC Royal Bank or RBC FINCO branch on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 and take advantage of fantastic deals and reduced rates that will make you say, "wow!" plus get a chance to Win exciting prizes in our "Wow! Wednesday" random prize draw. Call or visit any RBC Royal Bank or RBC branch for more details today! RBC Royal Bank of Canada's history in the Caribbean goes back a long way. In fact, the bank established branches in the Caribbean before some of Canada's western provinces. In 1996 RBC Royal Bank of Canada, or its subsidiaries, had consolidated its operations with 1,190 employees in Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and St. Lucia. In 2002, management of the entire area of eight countries and 14 islands was moved to Nassau, Bahamas from Toronto, Canada.


News Article

November 23, 2010
Scotiabank Supports Red Ribbon Ball 2010

NASSAU, BAHAMAS

-
Scotiabank Bahamas recently joined hands with The Bahamas AIDS Foundation
in hosting the 2011 Red Ribbon Ball. Hosted under the theme, 'I am Accepted,'
the Ball is the Foundation's single largest fund-raising initiative, now
in its seventeenth year. An annual supporter of the AIDS Foundation, Scotiabank
was an Executive Corporate Partner to this year's gala.

The Bank is a
dedicated partner to worldwide efforts at the local, regional, national
and international levels to reduce new HIV infections and minimize the
impact of the illness...

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News Article

December 18, 2013
Construction sector 'defunct'

With just three commercial mortgage commitments for new construction projects in the entire Bahamas in the first nine months of this year, valued at $417,000, the head of a prominent local construction company yesterday claimed that there is "absolutely no local investment" in construction in The Bahamas anymore, and mortgages for commercial construction in particular appear to have "fallen by the wayside".
"The construction industry is completely disintegrated and defunct," said the contractor, who declined to speak on the record.
His comments are reflected in newly-released statistics from The Central Bank of The Bahamas which show that in the four years from 2009 to 2012, there were 47 percent fewer commercial mortgage commitments for new construction than in 2008 alone, in which 123 such commitments were made for a value of $28.8 million.
In value, the mortgage commitments over this four-year period from 2009 to 2012 - which numbered 66 in total - were valued at $14.8 million.
Of the three commercial mortgage commitments for new construction in the first nine months of 2013, two were disbursed in the first quarter, one in the second, while none came to fruition in the third quarter, indicating a gradual slowing of this already moribund sector across the year.
A similar story can be seen in the area of residential construction-related mortgage commitments. Having amounted to 1,304 in number in 2006 ($136.9 million), residential mortgage commitments for new construction fell by 15 per cent to 1,109 in 2009 ($119 million), and by 13.5 per cent to 959 in 2010 ($86,5 million), falling again by 21 per cent to 756 in 2011 ($75.2 million), and by 46 per cent to 405 in 2012 ($43.15 million).
According to the central bank statistics in the Quarterly Statistical Digest for November 2013, the first three quarters of 2013 saw 278 mortgage commitments for residential construction ($34 million).
The figures were gathered from insurance companies, commercial banks, the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation and other local financial institutions.
"There are some high-end construction projects going on in some of the gated communities which don't reflect mortgage requirements or financing requirements, and which generally involve foreign contractors and management teams, but from what I can see there is absolutely no local Bahamian investment at all. There are no new office buildings, no extensions going on, no expansion of anything local," said the contractor of the current environment in the construction sector.
Where there is some activity, suggested the businessman, it has related to the contraction of businesses, not growth.
"There is a contraction of overseas banks and businesses. As various offshore businesses contract they need to have their offices made smaller, so you take a 5,000-square-foot area and reduce it to 2,500, but what it does is it leaves half of that particular space unrented."
The contractor said it appears commercial bank lending for construction activity appears to be "over".
"It's history. Commercial mortgages may have gone by the wayside."
Significant projects in 2012, such as the completion of the Nassau Container Port and some of the Baha Mar works related to the movement of commercial buildings along West Bay Street, have now come to an end.
The top contractor's comments shed some light on the high and growing unemployment levels in the economy, given the significant contribution traditionally made by construction to the employment of Bahamians.
Asked what he would suggest could be done to spur more construction activity in 2014, the contractor was pessimistic, at first declaring that "nothing can be done" given the government's commitment to appeasing institutions such as the international credit ratings agencies, the IMF and others, in order to avoid further credit downgrades.
Such commitments involve fiscal consolidation which would rule out significant additional capital expenditure, for example.
"The only thing that I think will stir this into action is unfortunately foreign investment and if the government can do anything at all, it would be simply to try to spur foreign investment. If that happens then maybe some local contractors will get some work, and something is spurred on by something happening.
"It could also help a bit by getting the local contractors association registered, which would then have some impetus to help distribute the work a bit better. The government cannot demand a multimillionaire investor gives contracts to Joe Schmo."
The Contractor's Bill would ensure the licensing, regulation and control of the construction industry, helping qualified contractors prove that they can perform at a given standard.
The bill has been in the works for several years.
In July, President of the Bahamian Contractors Association Godfrey Forbes called on the government to limit the number of foreign contractors participating in the high-end real estate construction sector, suggesting that until this happens The Bahamas will be "spinning its wheels" economically, not gaining as much as it might from attracting foreign direct investment.
He also suggested that the passage of the Contractors Bill would assist in cutting down on the level of foreign participation in the industry. In July he said some issues were still being ironed out in regards to the scope of the bill, but that it was hoped it could move forward within weeks.
Guardian Business was unable to ascertain the status of the bill yesterday; it has yet to be tabled in Parliament.

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News Article

June 17, 2011
Scotiabank Announces New Head of Bahamas Operations

Nassau, Bahamas - Scotiabank Bahamas Limited welcomes Kevin Teslyk to the role of Managing Director.

"Kevin's
appointment is recognition of his strengths and he brings with him
continuity and knowledge of our business in the Caribbean," said Claude
Norfolk, Senior Vice-President, International Banking, Caribbean,
Scotiabank. "I am pleased to continue working directly with him and am
confident that his years of experience will serve The Bahamas team
well."

Since 2009, Teslyk has been the Managing Director, Caribbean East and has...

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News Article

May 23, 2012
BOB completes e-commerce 'test phase'

Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) has completed the "test phase" of its highly anticipated e-commerce program, and now seeks to develop a marketing plan to make it safe and effective for the Bahamian marketplace.
Paul McWeeney, the managing director at BOB, said his staff needs to be "fully aware" of the initiative before it becomes a reality.
He told Guardian Business that the institution has received considerable interest in the lead up to the launch, but first, education is crucial.
"I think we need to educate the public on how it works," McWeeney said. "All of those persons who deal with PayPal, they should become automatic customers. And I think the interest generally will be very positive."
Former advisor to the Ministry of Finance and e-commerce expert Rowena Bethel said the "potential is enormous". But as the program slowly comes to fruition, she said it is "the responsibility of the government" to ensure Bahamians have access to and understand the power of the Internet.
In fact, Bethel said the government has a responsibility to partner with the private sector in order for persons to take effective advantage of e-commerce, and to be aware of the various legalities which exist among jurisdictions in the online world.

"There has to be a strong refocus on what the government can do to ready society to take advantage of this. Ensuring people are connected in affordable ways and are exposed to training and education to make it practical is crucial," she explained. "Over and above BOB, there are issues to take into account when you move to an online presence. There are legal issues, because your audience is not limited to a physical environment."
Bethel, fresh off a global information technology conference in Geneva, said many of the nations in the developing world, such as those in the Middle East, are making considerable strides and seizing opportunities online.
E-commerce would indeed provide Bahamians with an unprecedented global reach, he said, and open up markets throughout the country.
The Chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation I. Chester Cooper echoed many of these sentiments, saying "making The Bahamas less of a cash-based society makes good sense, and frankly creates less incentive for criminal-minded individuals".
McWeeney has expressed his intention to roll out the e-commerce program with participation from BCCEC.
Cooper said e-commerce will create more efficiency in the business world and improve the ability of small businesses to contain overhead costs.
"Retail banking is perhaps many years behind the adoption of banking technology and standards available in other markets. The overall retail banking system is behind the 'normal', on its charges, processes and general adoption of e-commerce. The time it takes and the enormity of the paperwork for simple transactions leaves much to be desired," Cooper told Guardian Business.

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News Article

March 14, 2011
Recession may trigger a bank 'creativity boom'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

The recession and high level of loan delinquencies could spark a "creativity boom" in the Bahamian commercial banking industry, a leading banker said yesterday, forcing them to develop new product offerings and business lines.

Paul McWeeney, Bank of the Bahamas International's managing director, told Tribune Business that the industry's high loan arrears levels could encourage others to follow his institution's lead and develop diverse revenue streams, becoming less dependent on the credit portfolio for the bulk of their earnings.

Acknowledging that the recession's impact "will certainly change us", Mr McWeeney said t ...

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News Article

September 11, 2012
BOB To Host Private Banking, Bahamian Pensions Trusts Breakfast

Nassau, New Providence - Bank of The Bahamas Trust and Private Banking will host an information-packed breakfast September 13 to discuss a host of financial
services including private banking rights and benefits, pension fund
arrangements and standard trusts as well as those specially created for
the Bahamian corporate and individual market.

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News Article

May 02, 2011
Net income drop for Central Bank

Net income for the Central Bank of The Bahamas dropped 17.8 percent during the 2010 fiscal year.
The results were revealed in the Central Bank’s 2010 annual report. The current figure for the year ended December 31, 2010 stood at $2.57
million, dropping from the $3.13 million recorded in the 2009 fiscal year. Although the bank’s total income grew by $263k from $24.38 million to $24.64 million, its total expenses were $22.06 million, thus the $2.57 in net income.
Interest on foreign investments declined 11.2 percent from $14.5 million in 2009 to $12.87 million in 2010, while interest on domestic investments slightly decreased from $7.6 million to $7.2 million. Interest on loans i ...

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News Article

May 03, 2011
40 decline in Central Bank on-site examinations

On-site examinations conducted by The Central Bank of The Bahamas have dropped 40 percent in 2010 according to its annual report, with the governor of the financial institution attributing the decline to the implementation process of the Risk-Based Supervision Framework (RBSF).
Wendy Craigg told Guardian Business yesterday that the decline in on-site examinations — which dropped from 44 in 2009 to 26 in 2010 — occurred because of the bank’s concentrated effort to fully bring the RBSF on-stream, which is expected to be a more refined and modern method of risk assessment.
“Our on-site bank examiners have been closely involved in the roll-out of the risk assessment ...

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News Article

June 06, 2011
Governor: Rate cutto 'support recovery'

The Central Bank of the Bahamas' governor yesterday dismissed speculation that the timing of yesterday's 75 basis point Discount Rate reduction was linked in any way to the upcoming general election, adding that the move would make it easier for more Bahamians to access credit and "support the economic recovery".

Wendy Craigg said she foresees the lowering of the Discount Rate by the Central Bank - the interest rate applied to money lent by the Central Bank to domestic banks it licenses - will create a lending environment providing more opportunities for Bahamian-owned businesses to "be a part of the spin-off" ef ...

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News Article

June 22, 2013
Arts Calendar

Exhibitions
"Home Sweet Home", an art exhibition featuring watercolor paintings and architectural models by Nastassia Pratt, opened Thursday, June 20, 6-8 p.m. at Popopstudios. For more information, visitwww.popopstudios.com or call 322-7834 or 552-0412.

The Bahamas Sailing Association presents "Sea, Wind, Sail", an art exhibition to aid the Bahamas National Sailing School, on Saturday, June 22, 5-8 p.m. at Palm Cay. Featured artists include Thierry Lamare, Malcolm Ray, Toby Lunn, Jonathon Bethel, John Cox and K. Smith. Tickets are $10. For more information, email bsajrsailing@gmail.com.

"Life on my island", original patterns and paintings by Fash|Art 2012 Jackson Burnside III Visual Artist Competition Winner Attila Feszt, continues at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery. For more information, visit http://www.doongalik.com/.

"Design", new works by Lemero Wright, continues at The Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/TheLadderGallery or telephone 327-1660. This exhibition will be open until June 28.

"Beg, Borrow, Steal", new work by Bahama Woodstarr, continues at Liquid Courage Gallery in Palmdale.

"Form Versus Function: Contemporary Art Quilts", featuring five artists and quilters, opened Monday, May 20 at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. This exhibition closes on Tuesday, June 25. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"Artisan", featuring work by Jan Elliott, Jenny Guy and Muck Guy, continues at the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery. Admission is free.

"The John Beadle Project", new work by John Beadle, continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"Master Artists of The Bahamas" continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Featured Artists are John Beadle, Jackson Burnside, Stan Burnside, John Cox, Amos Ferguson, Kendal Hanna, Brent Malone, Eddie Minnis, Antonius Roberts, Dave Smith and Max Taylor. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

"SINGLESEX", an all-female portrait show depicting only female subjects, continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. NAGB Curator John Cox says it is meant to stand in dialogue with the "Master Artists of The Bahamas" exhibition (later this year), which has no female representation. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

The Permanent Exhibition of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, displaying pieces under the theme "The Bahamian Landscape", continues this week at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Gallery hours: Tue. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun. noon - 4 p.m. Admission $5 adults; $3 students/seniors; children under 12 are free. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email info@nagb.org.bs or call 328-5800/1.

Music
The Meah Foundation's Music Festival takes place Saturday, June 22, 7-11 p.m. at Van Breugel's Restaurant on Charlotte Street. The event is expected to feature the bands Quartz, John Christie and the Floating Boats and the Rum Dums. The event is also in support of the Down Syndrome Association of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Humane Society. Tickets available at Van Breugel's, The Meridian School, Windermere, Traditions, New Providence Community Center and Liquid Nutrition. For more information, visit www.themeahfoundation.org.

Workshops and Summer Camps "Remembering Ourselves: Healing Our Colonial Legacy", a Gaulin Project retreat presented by Helen Klonaris, takes place Saturday, June 29 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Participants can expect creative writing to explore their cultural and personal stories about our shared colonial legacy; silent contemplation to tap into challenging feelings; active imagining to touch into their wisdom; a safe and compassionate space in which to explore issues of race, colonization and community and sacred witness. To register, write to thegaulinproject@gmail.com. The suggested retreat fee is $75; however, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The retreat will take place in Nassau at a location to be announced shortly!

Bahamas Music Conservatory will hold its Summer Music Camp from July 1 to July 26 at the Duke Errol Strachan Music Centre on Village Road. The camp is geared toward young musicians ages eight to 18 and offered instruments are piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, tuba, viola, cello and double bass. The cost of the workshop is $600. For more information, visitwww.bahamasmusicconservatory.com.

Film
Bahamas FilmInvest International will host the 5th Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase from Monday, June 3 to Tuesday, June 25 at Galleria Cinemas. This year's showcase will feature 29 feature films, documentaries, animations and children's films, with a special tribute being paid to the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence.

Tours
Islandz, having acquired Downtown Art Tours, offers its Islandz Gallery Hop tours, examining art spaces downtown on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 per person for the two-hour tour. For more information or to book tickets, call 601-7592 or visit Islandz online at www.islandzmarket.com.

Tru Bahamian food tours offers a "Bites of Nassau" food tasting and cultural walking tour to connect people with authentic local food items, stories and traditions behind the foods and the Bahamians that prepare and preserve them, through a hands-on, interactive, educational tour and culinary adventure. Tickets are $69 per person, $49 for children under 12. Tours are everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting at the British Colonial Hilton and ending at Tortuga Rum Cake Company. For more information, visit www.trubahamianfoodtours.com.

Call for works
Scotiabank invites all amateur photographers to participate in its Everything Bahamian Calendar Photo Contest. They are looking for candid representations of "Everything Bahamian" - outstanding and captivating, original digital images depicting the diversity, distinction and beauty of The Bahama Islands, its natural resources and the traditions, lifestyle and culture of its people. Images may be taken anywhere in The Bahamas. The official contest rules and entry forms are available at all Scotiabank locations or may be downloaded from www.bahamas.scotiabank.com/photocontest. Entry deadline is Friday, July 19.

The 10th Annual Bahamas International Film Festival invites filmmakers from around the worls to submit their narratives, documentaries, worls cinema, short films, animation and family films. This year's festival takes place December 5-13 on New Providence and Eleuthera. The deadline is July 17. For more information, visit http://bintlfilmfest.com.

The 30th Annual Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Competition and Exhibition invites entries for its Open Category under the theme "The Independents", in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence, which is being celebrated this year. The objectives of the competition are to identify, recognize and encourage Bahamian visual artists. To qualify, participants must be citizens of The Bahamas, aged 18 or older (as of October 1, 2013) and not registered in secondary school. The Open/Senior Category Competition and Exhibition component will be held from Tuesday, October 1 to Friday, November 1. Artists under 30 years are especially encouraged to embrace this opportunity of the theme of "The Independents" as a challenge in terms of material and/or the role and responsibilities of independent thinking in art in The Bahamas, as well as, thinking of the larger political symbolism of independence of the country.

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News Article

October 10, 2014
Central Bank reschedules grand opening and awards ceremony

Since 1984, The Central Bank of The Bahamas has staged an annual art competition and exhibition through which it has continued to uncover and showcase budding Bahamian talent in the visual arts. For many, this competition and exhibition has served as an introduction to the Bahamian art world, and the exposure received has been an invaluable first step in growing their gifts. Moreover, in staging this event, the Central Bank has enjoyed the distinct privilege of assisting young Bahamians in educational pursuits that have helped them to further develop their skills. Many of them have gone on to very promising and successful professional careers in visual arts.
The Central Bank Art Gallery regrets to inform that the Grand Opening and Awards Ceremony (open category) has been rescheduled.
The gallery wishes to apologize for any inconvenience caused, and invites the public to visit at 6 p.m. on October 15, 2014 to celebrate the spirit of the competition, formally open the exhibition and announce the prizewinner.

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News Article

January 15, 2013
Scotiabank joins the fight against cancer - Partners with Marathon Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas -
Scotiabank has again joined forces with Sunshine Insurance's Race
Weekend as a Corporate Partner of the annual event inclusive of Marathon
Bahamas and the Susan G. Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure. As a Gold
Partner, Scotiabank has made a sizeable contribution to support this
event which directly benefits the fight against cancer in The Bahamas.
The event-filled weekend is taking place this weekend, January 19 - 20,
2012.

Scotiabank's Manager of Sponsorships, Indira Rolle,
announced a new component this year event, "We are excited that through a
partnership with the Ministry of Education and Rotary International,
Scotiabank will this year sponsor a student...

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