Businesses in Grand Cayman are doing their part to assist the community.
As Cayman continues to make preparations for the potential impact of COVID-19 locally, and following an emergency decrease in the United States’ Federal Funds Rate, several banks in Grand Cayman are easing the burned on their customers.
Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited has announced that it will reduce KYD and USD Prime rates by 1.00% to 3.25%, with effect from Monday, 23 March 2020.
“It is our intention, with this significant decrease in rates, to help ease the financial burden on personal banking and business customers whose income may be impacted by the potential decrease in local economic activity associated with the health crisis,” explained Mr. Michael McWatt; Butterfield’s Managing Director in Cayman.
“The Bank is additionally reviewing the fee schedules and payment terms of select other products and may make changes to provide additional relief to customers during this challenging period, including providing extensions on repayment of credit card balances,” he added.
The Bank continues to provide in-person banking; except on Saturdays - but is encouraging customers to make use of electronic banking options.
Senior Manager of Corporate Communications for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Mr. Andrew McGrath spoke exclusively with the Caymanian Times, revealing that, “Effective immediately, most RBC Personal banking clients in the Caribbean will benefit from an automatic three-month payment deferral on credit facilities.”
“Business and Corporate banking clients are also eligible for the relief program, following individual eligibility assessments with an RBC representative and automatic payment deferrals will be applied as of March 17, 2020 and remain in effect until June 30, 2020, or until further advised,” he added.
To be eligible for the program, Personal banking or Business and Corporate banking client accounts must be current and in good standing as of March 2, 2020. Clients who are already participating in RBC relief programs for other circumstances are excluded from this program.
The relief program is intended to provide flexible solutions and help clients manage through the impacts of COVID-19, such as pay disruption; childcare disruption due to school closures; or dealing with the COVID-19 illness itself.
“These measures are an important first step and underscore the resilience of the financial system and the critical role banks play in the economy. RBC will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the evolving economic conditions in each country and territory where the bank operates,” said Mr. McGrath.
A statement from the Cayman Islands Credit Union noted:
“As of 18 March 2020, the Credit Union Board of Directors has approved that in addition to an interest rate adjustment we will offer an across-the-board loan waiver for Members in good standing.”
The Credit Union waiver structure is as follows:
1. A 1-MONTH WAIVER (PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST) WILL BE IMPLEMENTED ACROSS THE BOARD FOR ALL LOANS FOR MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING.
This will be implemented in April. The board will conduct a monthly review to determine if this waiver will be extended to subsequent months. There will be no fees associated this April waiver.
2. UP TO A 3-MONTH WAIVER ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS FOR MEMBERS WORKING IN SEVERLY IMPACTED INDUSTRIES.
Loan waivers after April will be considered for Members experiencing financial hardship. This includes Members in the tourism, hospitality and service industries which are heavily reliant on face-to-face contact. The waivers will be granted on a case-by-case basis. There will be no fees associated with these waivers.
The Credit Union claims to currently be the only financial institution in the Cayman Islands that continues to offer an annual Skip-a-Payment for FREE (no fee) each November.
“In addition, we have continued to offer loan waivers for months other than November, charging only a small processing fee. This normal practice was still in effect as of the first week of March this year, before we made the decision to waive all loan payments in April,” noted Credit Union Officials.
Cayman National Bank (CNB) is offering its customers an interest rate decrease; going from 4.25 percent to 3.25 percent. The new rates will be effective from 24 March, 2020 and includes all products linked to Cayman Islands and United States prime rates.
The bank is also waiving up to three months for loan payments.
A statement from CNB President and CEO, Mr. Stuart Dack noted. “At this time, we are very conscious that some of our customers will require economic and financial support.
“…Cayman National stands ready, willing and able to assist our clients in good standing by waiving up to three months’ loan payments.”
Officials at Scotiabank were unable to be reached for comment before publication.
However, Scotiabank in Jamaica on Tuesday, 17th March, announced fee waivers, as part of its Customer Assistance Programme (CAP) - to help customers address financial challenges amidst the growing threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus.
“The bank’s CAP program is activated once there is a widespread occurrence that would negatively affect its customer base,” Scotiabank said in a release.
Inside sources at the First Caribbean Bank in the Cayman Islands have suggested that an announcement will be made soon regarding concessions in relation to lending facilities from the bank in the coming days.
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