St.Kitts and Nevis Government Information
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 04, 2023 (SKNIS) – Several amendments to the Banking Act were passed during the Tuesday, April 04 sitting of the National Assembly that will bring the financial system in St. Kitts and Nevis up to date and further strengthen and protect the financial sector in the Federation.
The Banking (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was moved through its readings in the National Assembly by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew. It is one of several pieces of legislation brought to the attention of the Federal Cabinet by officials from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), led by Governor Dr. Timothy Antoine, during a meeting held in February of this year. The legislation is deemed critical for a resilient and robust financial sector.
“Madame Speaker, what we really want to do is to strengthen the Banking Act, give it the flexibility that is deserves, allow it to transform and allow the ECCB that space that it requires to continue to be a leading financial institution—an institution that has proven itself and an institution that has kept our currency safe and protected,” Dr. Drew said.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew highlighted some of the amendments made to the legislation.
He said, “The amendment would allow licensed financial institutions to disclose confidential information where necessary in the conduct of due diligence in relation to a potential transaction. This amendment will be particularly helpful to the Eastern Caribbean Asset Management Corporation. The proposed amendment would be the legal authority for a licensed financial institution to disclose confidential information to the ECAMC. The spirit is not to disclose anybody’s information to whoever wants that information but that the relevant persons can ask for the information so that the banks can do the checks and make sure that the banks are not exposed, or any financial institution is not so unduly exposed.”
“Section 186 of the Banking Act is being amended to provide for one, the establishment of a bridge bank for an initial period of twelve months with the possibility of extension by the ECCB for up to four years. Two, specific circumstances under which bridge banks status may be automatically terminated, that is by a fluxion of time, sale to or amalgamation with another institution or satisfaction of the capital requirements. Madame Speaker, this type of transformation we are talking about with the bridge bank is where the ECCB wants to go and we in St. Kitts and Nevis cannot be holding back this very prestigious institution,” Dr. Drew continued.
Critically important also is that the Banking (Amendment) Bill, 2023 will ensure that people who serve on Boards of financial institutions are people of integrity so that they do not pose a risk to the financial system.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew explained that “The Bill clarifies the fit and proper criteria for members who sit on Boards Madame Speaker. This is not about some abstract matter. The caliber of persons being appointed within Boards touches and concerns real people. This is why we have supported the election of professional people to the Board of the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank. Even before this Bill was passed, I asked that ECCB look at who we were appointing to the Board and those who were not in the proper order they had an opportunity to present and say why and then they had an opportunity to correct it before they would have been appointed to the Board. So, we have practiced it.”
The Prime Minister ended by reiterating that the Banking (Amendment) Bill, 2023 is of utmost importance to St. Kitts and Nevis, which has the fourth largest economy in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).