Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Farmers' bank in serious financial trouble

Published:Friday | March 2, 2018 | 12:10 AMEdmond Campbell/ Senior Staff Reporter

Three years after an audit revealed irregularities and weak management practices at the National People's Cooperative Bank (NPCB), which placed the money of its members at risk, the entity is still facing financial troubles.

Providing an update on the financial status of the NPCB, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda says that despite the appointment of a management committee, the entity is still facing serious financial challenges.

Addressing members of Parliament's Standing Finance Committee yesterday, Samuda revealed that 46 per cent of the accounts receivables at the bank exceeded 90 days. He said that many would be alarmed to see the names of persons with outstanding sums.

 

LITANY OF IRREGULARITIES

 

"We are continuing to use all our efforts to try to collect the receivables, and we are implementing certain management strategies that we are confident will see to improvement to the financial situation at the bank."

However, he said that currently, the financial status of the NPCB "leaves much to be desired".

In 2015, an audit of the bank unveiled a litany of irregularities and weak management practices that placed the savings of its members at risk.

The audit, which was conducted by the Agricultural Credit Board - the regulatory body - highlighted several weaknesses that had exposed the NPCB to high financial, reputational, and information-technology risk.

The 2015 audit also uncovered loans to related parties, including loans to board and committee members of the PC banks, as well as breaches and non-compliance in the granting and monitoring of the loans.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com