Wednesday , May 31 2023

Saba Business Associations' response to closure of the WIB branch Saba

This is certainly not good news for Saba in general. After receiving the information from WIB we as the representatives of a large number of local business were shocked. This doesn’t really help to improve our economic climate at all. Also we are disappointed with the relatively short notice the closure was announced. As far as we know the decision was made they the owners and management of the mother company in Curacao Maduro & Muriel Bank and not in St. Maarten.

The SBA and the local business community nor the local government was ever contacted by the bank to discuss this or even warned about it in advanced.

Many business people have just recently shifted their accounts to WIB since the only other bank on the island has many issues. To set up a new account with another bank can take 3-6 month and more, therefore a closure at the end of October is devastating for many locals and local businesses that did business for many years with the WIB. Many of their customers have no computer skills to work with the bank online and depend heavily on their local presents.

We would have liked to see a proactive approach of the bank to contact the business community and the local government to see if there is anything that could have been done to keep the branch open.

Also there will be no more night drop, an important feature for many businesses since the other bank doesn’t offers this option. Furthermore, the remaining bank branch on Saba will be overwhelmed by new and old customers since the bank branch is very small, has only two tellers is closed during lunch time and the issues mentioned before are of a very serious nature and can’t be solved overnight since they exist already for years and that’s why many people opened accounts with the WIB. So not even that the bank is closing, we also left with an inferior option for our local banking.

Moreover Saba’s two ATM Machines will be reduced to only one. This machine has issues too so it will not be easy to get cash all the time as needed. This also effects tourists, medical students and anybody else. Besides that, the medical students (about 400 of them) live mostly in the Bottom where the WIB is/was located. That means for all their transactions they have to travel to Windwardside to do their banking business.

We assume that the bank is aware of the problems they create on Saba and for the Saba community at large but still decided to close the branch. This is very sad, unfortunate and disappointing. I our opinion a bank that calls itself Windward Island Bank should be represented on ALL Windward Island.

Wolfgang Tooten
President of the SBA

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