JOHNATHAN Johannes, Managing Director of 1st National Bank St Lucia Limited, has given his assurance that 1st National Bank will be there to support Saint Lucians during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let me let the public know that we remain committed to being there for you. After all, being here for you is part of our tagline and we will not abandon you in a time like this,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
Johannes went on, “We are going to treat this the way we treat every crisis and we will be there to support the public.”
He said the Bankers’ Association of Saint Lucia has had a series of meetings over the past few weeks with key stakeholders; namely, the Prime Minister as Minister of Finance and ECCB, the regulator of 1st National Bank to develop a strategic coordinated approach to a relief package for the citizens of Saint Lucia. He said that he was hoping for the creation of a national plan that is compelling, and one which will safeguard the citizenry.
“We believe that the process we are following of collaboration and consultation with stakeholders is the right approach when we look to the approach taken in Canada,” he remarked.
“These are unprecedented times,” he said, noting that he has never seen anything like the financial fallout that is taking place as a consequence of the global pandemic.
Johannes added, “To our customers and to the people of Saint Lucia, I want to say that we will be here for you and we are putting out what I believe will be a comprehensive and beneficial relief package to take us through this journey.”
The package, according to Johannes, will consist of a combination of moratoriums, restructures and interests’ rates adjustments. He said a number of other elements are going to be included in the package which he believes is going to provide the necessary relief. He said the details of the relief package will be announced next week after it is finalized.
Johannes stressed, “It is important for us to remember that as a local institution, when this crisis hits fully… and if it is long and deep, we can’t pack up and leave. So, whatever we do we will be here through thick and thin. I know we will be here to work with every single customer of ours and do our best to help our nation and to help our government to see this crisis through.”
Johannes said that Saint Lucia has recorded two cases of COVID-19 and that it was absolutely critical to not increase this number, as he added, “A healthy population is key to jump starting your economy. Our focus and priority should be to keep our population healthy.”