The harsh local economic conditions may have put a damper on commercial investment activities, but it is not stopping residents from taking out motor vehicle loans, according to one of this island’s major financial firms.
Chief Executive Officer of SigniaGlobe Financial Group Inc. Paul Ashby said while the company had seen a weakening in its commercial loans portfolio over the past two years, it was the opposite for vehicle loan activity.
“It has been a difficult period I would say in the last two years. The most difficult aspect would have been on the commercial end of our business. So not a lot of commercial loans for commercial activity,” said Ashby, who was speaking on the sidelines of a brand presentation ceremony for the company at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.
Ashby said with the combination of Signia Financial and Globe Finance to create the current company, SigniaGlobe Financial, the company could boast of being “the best financiers” of vehicles in Barbados.
The amalgamation deal ultimately went through in September of this year after several attempts about six years ago and the signing of the letter of intent in November 2017.
Stating that the company intended to continue to deliver at the highest standard, Ashby said it was the personal loans side of the business that continued to do well.
“In fact, it is such a lucrative area that even commercial banks who did not traditionally venture into vehicle loans, are doing it . . . They are active participants in that market now so it is a more competitive landscape. We are not necessarily daunted by their involvement. So I would say vehicular loans have been on the rise,” said Ashby.
The company offers a range of banking and investment services spanning commercial and retail banking, deposit and brokerage services.
The credit card aspect of the company has been transferred to Cave Shepherd.
Pointing out that there was a slight increase in the delinquency in the loan portfolio, which was “natural”, Ashby said this was mainly due to an increase in the cost of living.
However, he said SigniaGlobe had found ways to help customers especially those impacted by government’s ongoing retrenchment exercise and who were having difficulties meeting their loan obligations.
The management specialist said given some measures currently being put in place by the current administration, he was expecting 2019 to be “a bumper year”.
“We see signs of it already,” he said.
“Of course, we know the Ross University is coming. So we think that is going to be a fillip to the economy. We are hopeful of a strong tourist season, we see a number of cruise ships in the port already. We think this is a prime time to bring this activity… We are going to ride the successes of the economy as it grows again,” he predicted.
During the unveiling of the new brand for the amalgamated company, Ashby said the financial entity was highly regulated and subjected to high compliance standards.
Meanwhile, Chairman of SigniaGlobe Financial Group Sir Geoffrey Cave signalled that the company planned to expand its footprint across the region, describing the new entity as “a stronger operation” that will open doors for new business opportunities and regional expansion.
“We are better equipped to survive in this extremely competitive financial industry, as we focus strategically on continuously developing our business to better serve our customer.
“Let me assure you that as the new company grows from strength to strength, we intend to continue to provide the same high standard of service and quality products, and exceed our customers’ expectations, with the continued support of our dedicated and committed team,” said Sir Geoffrey, who also expressed confidence in the current economic measures being undertaken by the Mia Mottley-led administration.
“At SigniaGlobe, we are confident that better days are ahead and we intend to do all we can to play our part in helping Barbados to return to its former economic strength,” he said.