Saint Lucian public outraged by cheque-cashing policy; Opposition leader calls out bankers association

By SNO Staff

Pierre (left) and Delmar (right)

(SNO) – Saint Lucians have been expressing their dissatisfaction with local bank institutions regarding a “recently introduced” cheque-cashing policy.

Even Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre has added his voice to the outrage.

In an open letter to President of the Bankers Association of Saint Lucia, Wendy Delmar, dated July 9, 2018, Pierre states: “It has been brought to my attention that there is a recently introduced practice by certain banking institutions as it relates to the cashing of cheques.

“I have been informed that even if the necessary funds are available certain banks are refusing to cash cheques written to customers unless the recipient is a client of or holds an account with the bank that the cheque is written to.

“To my mind, this seems like a serious infringement on the rights of an individual to their legitimate property. I am therefore calling on the banking institutions that have adopted this practice to cease immediately if reasonable and sensible clarification cannot be forthcoming.”

Besides the media, the letter was copied to Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy N. J. Antoine.

Prior to this development, Saint Lucians have been expressing their concern about the policy via social media.

In one of the most widely distributed posts, a resident called on members of the public to stop paying “casual workers” with cheques. The writer also blasted the ECCB and the Saint Lucian Ministry of Finance.

The (unedited) statement reads: “People stop paying your casual workers with cheques! You cleaners, grass cutters, those who come to your homes to provide personal care services such as : combing your child, massages, pedicures, manicures, help you prepare for parties, pressing, etc.

“Currently some banks will not cash a cheque if you don’t have an account and others will charge about $10, if you do have an account at a different bank, it takes at least three to five days for the cheque to clear; which means a poor unemployed person who does one days work does not have immediate access to the funds to procure food or pay an over due utility bill.

“This decision by the ECCB has left marginalized, vulnerable poor people and communities completely unrepresented in the financial sector. The Ministry of Finance has failed in this regard as they have not seen it necessary to provide any guidance or public education on this matter. POOR PEOPLE CONTINUE TO BE LEFT OUT!”

(62)(2)
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18 comments

  1. In an era of 3-D printers, having gone past colour printing, accepting printed paper and handing over cash is very risky business. Holding the value of the cheque against identifiable funds in case of loss, until clearance is smart business.

    If nationally we go the credit union route, then government in turn, will have to be alert to need to have legislation is in place to protect the savings of members with protection for individual depositors up to certain maximum limits. Once credit unions become significant financial intermediaries, the "borbolist" online predators cannot be too far behind in this digital age seeking to exploit vulnerabilities.

    (0)(0)
  2. SLP do not have a freakin clue about commercial banking, international banking, nor credit unions. My goodness, a little bit of knowledge is really a very bad thing. Jesus Christ! Must we have hot air and foolishness from these idiots everyday?

    (2)(6)
    • What say you when a farmer gets a cheque to buy feed to feed his chickens and is being told that he has to wait 3 to 5 day to cash that cheque to feed his chickens or open an account so they can take 25 dollors from it every month. What say you.
      The money does not belong to the bank.
      Enough with this politics crap.

      (3)(1)
  3. Novice, get another sixth-form economic textbook, one that has banking in it. The one you have been using is much too old.

    Only then you will begin to make much more sense. All that crap on the SLP platform, in the House, is pure hot air. It just says that SLP has nobody in it fit to lead Saint Lucia into the 21st century.

    You all flopped and flopped and flopped again. The people kicked you all out of course. Take a rest. Give us a damn break.

    (2)(3)
  4. One simple answer to all the confusion and it is this. A bank has no legal obligation to accept your cheque.

    Get an education. Plain and simple, as opposed to our national legal currency, a cheque, just another piece of paper, is not legal tender.

    (3)(2)
  5. Mr. Blanchard this is not about a charge, it is about the Banks refusing to cash a cheque unless you have an account with them. It cannot be practical for persons to open accounts with every bank just for the purpose of cashing a cheque. The problem with this policy in my opinion is that when you deposit a cheque to your account and this cheque is not from the same bank then you are to wait 3 working days for the cheque to clear. Now remember we have so many poor people here who lives hand to mouth and can hardly wait the 3 days to get their money.
    We must see this for what it is worth and not through political lenses.

    (28)(2)
    • I wish I could shake your hands right now.

      (9)(0)
    • One does not have to open an account with each bank to cash cheques. It is darn foolishness and pure country buck ignorance to utter such nonsense. Saint Lucians are so unsophisticated. It is even better to use a credit union with mobile banking facility. SLP is catching at straws. Little wonder they wrecked the economy. These idiots know so damn little about business.

      (1)(3)
  6. this is so true and it is nonsense the bank cannot and should not refuse you to cash a cheque since you dont have an account with them. it has never been a problem in the past so why make it a problem now. also another thing people can do is deposit the cheque in the bank you have the account for cause right now it takes the same day to clear but correct me if i am wrong.

    (4)(1)
  7. Vaughn Blanchard

    I wonder whether the employers who are concerned about the charge pay NIC for their casual workers? NIC payments are a more of a concern than this charge.

    (5)(8)
  8. Join a credit union, They are more flexible

    (14)(0)
  9. Vaughn Blanchard

    This is such an irresponsible piece. ECCB just introduced a same-day check clearing facility. In addition, it has just intrdouced a new facility to transfer funds from one bank to another without a charge. And that is within the ECCB Union. People are moving to a cashless society. We need to adapt. The LOO needs to let Saint Lucians know whether the fee is illegal, immoral, unethical, or dishonest. People need to know what they are protesting against. Saint Lucians need to open Bank Accounts. That is the way to go.

    (10)(21)
    • Says the person who probably has vested interest in a bank. People it's time to join a Credit union, they don't charge you to save your own money. There are dividends, patronage refunds and they dont reposess your vehicle or house any missing 3 payments

      (15)(3)
      • No thanks. I'd rather cashless people not join a credit union. Credit Unions are for smart people with money not some moron who doesn't have the discipline to give a cheque three days to clear but rather spends hours in a bank line and hundreds of dollars a year paying cheque cashing fees.

        You encourage these people to join credit unions and soon the credit unions will face the same problems the banks are facing and then the fees will follow. Please don't ruin a good thing for the rest of us.

        (9)(3)
  10. The banks are there to make money and this they do very well in st lucia. There are other issues that should be addressed for example being charged for withdrawing your money from a cash dispenser and checking your transactions. If we are moving with the times, then we need access to our cash 24-7 with no hidden charges!

    (21)(1)
  11. Cheques are so old fashioned. get with the rest of the world with Electronic transfers and cash cards. I can not belief that we have to take of work to make a deposit or cash a cheque.
    It is time that the banks get this right. I have never spend so much time in the bank as here.
    Government must force the banks to sort this out.
    Go to Africa, there different banks clear EFT's like 2 seconds after transaction is done. Nobody walks around with money to pay rent, you do an EFT. Pay your casuals with an EFT. Does not matter who your banker is and who the recipient banks with.
    Banks think nobody works, because we have all the time in the world to queue to do a 5 minute transaction.

    (24)(4)
  12. This policy should have only been implemented if ACH was operating as expected. The banks should have a fully functional system whereby funds are instantly available when cheques from any bank are deposited into an account. This would of course eliminate the need for cashing cheques but since they are too inefficient to achieve such this bullshit policy cannot be accepted. This is literally slowing down the country's cash flow; in a developing island that is extremely important. Senior management of these banks are completely oblivious to social and economical responsibility, only concerned with their bottom line. The bullshit must stop

    (23)(1)
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