SSB Investment in NBVI
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for gathering here today to witness what is indeed a historical event in the advancement of both the National Bank of the Virgin Islands and the BVI Social Security Board.
It was in May of this year that my Government amended the Development Bank of the Virgin Islands Act to divest its 100 percent holding in the financial institution and provide for statutory bodies, like BVI Social Security Board, and also BVI companies to become shareholders in the bank. This type of partnership will not only allow the BVI Social Security Board to invest in the bank financially but also bring significant resources and knowledge as the Bank’s Board will now be expanded to include representation by the BVI Social Security Board.
While making that amendment, none of us knew that just a few months later, the course of the Virgin Islands would be forever changed, with the passage of the August Floods, followed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, all in just six trying weeks. Now all of us, public and private sectors and the residents of our Territory find ourselves at a crossroads, seeking opportunities and a means to restore our Territory, but also to chart a new course to truly develop these Virgin Islands.
As we all set about recovering what little remained of our homes and offices following the passage of Hurricane Irma; as Government sought to get supplies and get the economy moving, and even as residents sought some relief from the devastation offshore, I keenly watched and realized that the National Bank of the Virgin Islands made some of that relief possible through financing afforded to its clients, such as VI Airlink and the Jost Van Dyke Ferry Services. It is this type of support that the National Bank can provide to BVI businesses and residents to nurture industries and services and make it possible for Virgin Islanders and residents to partake in the economic development and management of this Territory, and to bring relief and support to our islands when it is most needed.
The people of the Virgin Islands continue to admire the ingenuity, sound investments and management of the Social Security Board. To the Board’s Chairman and Director, I am grateful that you see the Bank as a substantial long-term investment. I believe this further demonstrates the two organisations long-held and shared vision of building a better Virgin Islands. This partnership brings added benefits to National Bank; it is a wise investment for BVI Social Security Board, but I also see this partnership as an excellent opportunity for the residents of this Territory to further benefit from this type of collaboration.
Today, the BVI Social Security Board is investing 15 million dollars to add to the capital adequacy of the Bank. The additional capital provides the opportunity for growth in the Bank’s loan portfolio as well as investments in fixed assets, including new headquarters to accommodate further growth and modernisation of our National Bank. This will no doubt allow the bank to offer new services and assist our National Bank in strategically competing with other financial institutions in the Virgin Islands to the benefit of our society.
I am confident that both the financial and technical resources of the Social Security Board will significantly assist National Bank in realising its strategic mission of supporting the development of Virgin Islanders and residents in business and their personal lives. As we embark on this new phase of rebuilding our Territory and this new partnership, I ask both parties to continue to support residents and businesses to help them invest in developing homes, building businesses and creating financial stability, right here at home in the Virgin Islands. I also ask that the public looks to National Bank for financial solutions as they bring on stream new products and services and that we all maintain a responsible partnership with the bank. Thank you all and let us all move forward together, to build a better, and stronger Virgin Islands.