Backward banking policies for Tobago
In this day and age, some financial institutions still operate in a very backward setting in Tobago. Head office in Trinidad is in total control of things. For example, cheques have to go to Trinidad for approval before payments can be made. To get an ATM card, it has to be processed in Trinidad before one can get use of it. And then there is a situation in one of the institutions where you cannot withdraw more than $1,000 in cash.
This letter is written to draw attention to all the head offices of financial institutions that operate in Tobago, like commercial banks, credit unions and the Unit Trust Corporation. Certainly, they are all aware of their operations and policies in Tobago in relation to how they do in Trinidad.
The time has come for equal treatment of customers in Tobago, because it is unfair to us to not get the kind of services we rightly deserve.
As a member of a prominent credit union, it is taking me over six weeks to obtain an ATM card just because the process has to be done in Trinidad. This is totally unacceptable. I received a call from the credit union about three weeks after the application, saying the card was ready. When I went to collect it, I was told there was a problem and it had to be sent back to Trinidad to be rectified. Another three weeks have passed and I’m still awaiting my ATM card. This is just not acceptable in this day and age. It doesn’t take a week in any of the other commercial banks.
At the Unit Trust, one can deposit from as low as $10 to as high as $1,000,000, but one cannot withdraw more than $1,000 cash from the same institution. How can this be? If it is done in Trinidad, why can’t it be done in Tobago also? Aren’t we equal? Once it is above $1,000 they give a cheque for you to then get it cashed at a commercial bank; however, RBC Royal Bank no longer cashes cheques from the Unit Trust. What if the other banks adopt the same policy?
When I was supposed to collect my gratuity as an employee of the Tobago House of Assembly, it was a long process only because it had to go to Trinidad first before it came back to the accounting unit in my department, before the process was finalised.
Something has to be done to put an end to these old, archaic and backward policies these institutions with national interests are inflicting on citizens of Tobago.
I am now vehemently appealing to whomever is responsible for these situations that residents of Tobago are faced with daily, whether it is management of these institutions, the Central Bank or the Minister of Finance.
There needs to be some redressing.