In Barbados: More Bajans Turn To Fraud

5 October 2011


“A few bad apples” coming to the surface in terms of cheque fraud. Regional credit agency ties this to “difficult financial and economic times.”

On the heels of more cheque-fraud reports, a regional credit-rating agency is reporting an increase in the number of Barbadian companies expressing interest in joining its network of subscribers.

According to Grady Clarke, chief executive officer of the Caribbean Credit Bureau known in Barbados as Credi Check, this is as a result of the financial and economic challenges being experienced throughout the region.

He told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY the company publishes instances of fraud, bad debt or good credit for its subscribers so they can ascertain the creditworthiness of prospective customers.

The CEO noted that in the absence of empirical evidence, it was his belief that although the number of cheques being issued was on the decline, the percentage of returned or bounced cheques had increased.

He attributed the possible decline in cheque usage to the availability of electronic forms of payment.

Clarke added that while issuers of returned cheques were usually required to settle their debt in one payment, many were now asking that they be allowed to service their debt in two or three instalments.

The result of this is that it takes longer to settle returned cheques, he said, noting that people were therefore using their cheque books as “credit facilities”.

He noted that the “vast majority” of Barbadians have historically paid their bills on time and there were more positive than negative credit ratings in their database.

However, he said there were “a few bad apples”.

Hardware store Carter’s recently announced that in light of the economic climate and increased cheque fraud, effective October 1, they would no longer be accepting personal and/or business cheques on point-of-sale transactions from new customers or existing Rewards Programme customers who have not issued any cheques within the last six months.

Meanwhile, Clarke took issue with a story carried in another section of the Press where Barbados Association of Compliance Professionals president Roger Archer called for “an effective and robust credit bureau in the Caribbean”.

The CEO stressed that CCBL has been around for 18 years and its subscribers include many of the island’s large financial institutions, including all but one commercial bank.

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