St Vincent Building And Loan Association Response To Allegations

The St Vincent Building and Loan Association has responded to what it described as misleading and untrue statements/allegations, which were recently made at a public event about the Association.

In a release issued on Monday October 12th, the Association said the allegation that members of the Association were denied access to their funds is untrue and misleading. It explained that during the period of the intervention of the financial Service Authority, FSA, from January 2013 until August 2013, withdrawal of deposits was put on hold, but all requests for withdrawals were evaluated, resulting in some requests being approved for medical and other emergencies.

The release said, following the approval of the re-capitalisation plan at the August 2013 AGM, the Board of Directors and Management, implemented the mandatory issuance of permanent shares to members from their existing deposits, and the remaining balances were placed on fixed deposit accounts with specific maturity dates ranging from 6 months to 36 months.

The Association said some members withdrew their money while others opted to reinvest. It stressed that no member has ever been refused access to their funds that matured under the re-capitalisation plan, except in cases where those funds have been pledged as security.

The Association also stressed that the statement made at a recent public event raising questions that the Government has taken $6 million from St. Vincent Building and Loan is unfounded and untrue.

It explained that in September 2015, representatives of the Board met with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Director General of Finance, Maurice Edwards to apprise them of the position of the Association, and to seek relief from the debt relating to an interest levy.

It was at this meeting that an agreement was made that the St. Vincent Building & Loan Association will pay a lump sum of EC$6 million, that the Government would waive approximately EC$3 million of the total outstanding interest levy, and all interest and fines accrued of EC$8 million, bring the total relief granted to approximately EC$11 million. The Association says it has repaid its debt to the Government and is grateful for the relief granted to the Association and its members.