The Central Bank of Guyana is considering penalties against Republic Bank, in wake of numerous complaints from customers about its poor service following a system upgrade.
“There are a number of persons who have been disappointed as to their conduct when it comes to this new platform they’re trying to put in place. The Central Bank is also very disappointed. We’ve been in contact with Republic Bank to ensure they have the necessary structure in place but I should tell you they have been very, very slow,” Governor Dr Gobind Ganga explained.
He added that at the last meeting that was held with the Bank’s CEO, Amral Khan, it was conveyed that the Bank was trying its best to rectify the issue.
“But that very best is still not what we are accepting. So we are ensuring that they are continuously addressing this issue to make it more acceptable to the public. We are hoping that when this platform is put in place, they’ll be able to compensate the customer some way or the other”.
It was pointed out by Finance Minister Winston Jordan that the Bank of Guyana does have the authority to issue circulars reprimanding banks.
Dr Ganga also noted that the Central Bank will be meeting with the Guyana Association of Bankers on Friday to discuss its concerns.
The Bank’s Governor noted that when they do move towards sanctions, it’s going to be a substantial one. When asked, however, Dr Ganga shied away from singling out Republic Bank for sanctions.
“Republic Bank is forcing us in that direction, not just with their current conduct but future conduct…this will be across the banking system. This is not something for one individual…We are not threatening anybody. We want to put things out in the open. We will say this is what is expected of you, and if you are not going to do what you are required to do, then this will be the penalty.”
Republic Bank was in the process of transitioning its services for much of last month. During that time, customers complained of long lines and in some cases, the unavailability of certain services.
This came little over a month after the Central Bank of Guyana denied Republic Financial Holdings Limited, the parent company of Republic Bank (Guyana), permission for the purchase/acquisition of the operations of Scotiabank in Guyana.
In late November 2018, after the proposed buyout was announced, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had stated that Republic Bank Limited’s acquisition of Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana could be unhealthy for the local financial sector.
His statements came on the heels of the Canadian-based Scotiabank announcing that it has signed an agreement to sell its banking operations in Guyana and eight other Caribbean nations to Republic Financial Holdings Limited.