A member of one of the region’s largest conglomerates says it is closer to introducing a digital bank in Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados will be close behind.
Managing Director of ANSA Merchant Bank Ltd Gregory Hill said the financial institution would be launching its digital bank at the end of this year in the twin-island republic.
ANSA Merchant Bank bought the Bank of Baroda in Trinidad and last year rebranded it ANSA Bank. It was then that officials first disclosed that over a 15-year period, ANSA Bank would be investing heavily in technology and artificial intelligence as it moves to become the country’s first digital bank.
Hill said he believed the digital bank was “a way of growing the level of banking services among the population in Trinidad and, eventually, Barbados when we bring our digital solutions to Barbados and the rest of the region”.
“We do expect that once the digital bank is fully deployed and we have all our tools and toys rolled out and our products and services, we will be offering it to Barbados shortly thereafter,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Hill was speaking on the heels of the 2022 Fintech Islands conference which took place here last week and had as its featured speaker Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who noted that Barbados was open for business from the financial technology industry players.
“Prime Minister Mottley . . . welcomed all of us to come and do business in Barbados and make Barbados sort of the homeport for fintech and digital banking . . . The good news is that ANSA Bank will be launching our digital app so we will be a digitally enabled commercial bank,” he said.
ANSA Merchant Bank is a publicly-listed company on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange and is a member of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies. It has a subsidiary in Barbados – the ANSA Merchant Bank (Barbados) Ltd.
Hill said the ANSA Merchant digital bank will design products and services that fit each individual type of banking customer.
“In an attempt to get closer to our customer base and design a more customer-centric organisation, we will need to adjust the rules and regulations to meet the needs of the customer.
“So, our focus is going to be on eliminating the pain points for all classes of customer – have easy onboarding, easy access to all your bank accounts, transferring money between accounts and vendors – and essentially we would like to build a Caribbean ecosystem that people can transact on our platform and be able to conduct their banking services and purchase products and services. This way, the Caribbean connects as a region,” the ANSA official said.
The aim of the digital bank is to offer customised affordable financing options to big businesses, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, individuals, and entrepreneurs.
Hill gave the assurance that the digital bank would allow for greater ease of accessing banking services and require far less hassle on the part of individuals and business operators.
“There is a lot of good work going on with Barbados Central Bank, the Trinidad and Tobago Central Bank and Bank of Jamaica, for example, in terms of what are the necessary Know Your Customer requirements and finding a way to streamline that so the volume of documentation is a lot less, and then the sharing of that information among institutions will be a lot faster,” he said while noting that a digital ID will also help to improve the process.
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