CIBC Defends Lending Policy

Another bank is defending its lending policy to the public sector, following criticisms from the Opposition’s Deputy Spokesperson on Finance, Fayval Williams.

CIBC First Caribbean International Bank says it’s lending to the productive sector has grown by 8-percent over the past year.

Its Managing Director, Nigel Holness, says the Bank writes more business loans than it does personal loans.

In an e-mailed response to queries from Nationwide News, Mr. Holness says loans to the productive sector account for 64-percent of the bank’s loan portfolio.

Personal loans account for the other 36-percent.

Fayval Williams had described the split between personal lending and commercial lending as lopsided.

She cited figures from the Bank of Jamaica showing overall personal loans far exceeding business loans.

She said that in developed countries, the reverse is the case.

First Caribbean is the third commercial bank to contradict the figures.

Both Scotia and Sagicor have also refuted the claim.

Mr. Holness, who’s also President of the Jamaica Bankers’ Association, JBA, says growth in personal loans is falling, from a high of 26-percent in 2013 to just 7-percent this year.

Growth in loans to the productive sector has also slowed, but by a less significant margin, from 7-percent last year to 5-percent this year.

He adds that as the Jamaican economy rebounds and certain initiatives begin to materialize, commercial loan pipelines will outpace the demand for personal credit.

As a result, he says the imbalance that is spoken of today will find its own equilibrium.