Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honor to address you today as we celebrate the opening of Bank of The Bahamas’ newest customer service branch. This milestone marks a significant achievement for the 100% Bahamian-owned bank and is a testament to the bank’s commitment to serving the Bahamian people.
This new branch represents a major step forward for the bank, with its state-of-the-art facilities, including the latest ATM machines, a spacious drive-through ATM, and comfortable workspaces for bank employees. It is a shining example of the bank’s dedication to providing top-notch services to its customers.
As the largest Bahamian-owned financial institution, Bank of The Bahamas has a long history of innovation and excellence. The bank was created by the Bahamian government in 1988 and has since become a leader in the financial services sector. With over 900 million in assets and 158.5 million in total equity, Bank of The Bahamas is well-positioned to continue serving the needs of the Bahamian people.
In our 50th year of independence, it is more important than ever to support Bahamian-owned businesses. By investing in and supporting our own, we are building a stronger, more self-sufficient nation. I am proud to see the Bank of The Bahamas continuing to grow and thrive, and I am confident that it will carry on playing a vital role in the Bahamian economy for years to come.
I also take this opportunity to discuss the important issues facing our nation. As Prime Minister, I am committed to ensuring that all Bahamians have access to the financial services they need to build a better future for themselves and their families.
An estimated 18% of our population is unbanked, meaning roughly 70 thousand Bahamians do not have access to vital banking services. This is an alarming figure. As a poor boy growing up in Cat Island, I know first hand what it feels like to be estranged from the economic architecture of the nation. Bank of the Bahamas has long recognised the need to serve the widest cross-section of our population possible – a fact evidenced by their establishing a Cat Island branch in 2008. A fact further evidenced by presences in Bimini, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Inagua, and San Salvador.
Yes, I am proud to say that Bank of The Bahamas has taken a leadership role in addressing the need for greater access to quality financial services in our family islands. With such a strong archipelagic presence and a staunch commitment to serving the needs of our citizens, Bank of The Bahamas is at the forefront of efforts to enhance financial inclusion for underbanked communities.
In addition to bringing the banking gap, we must also work to improve the e-banking opportunities available to Bahamians. With the ever-increasing pace of technological change, it is more important than ever that our citizens have access to secure, convenient, and accessible banking services. Whether through mobile banking, online banking, or other digital channels, the Bank of The Bahamas must remain dedicated to providing our citizens with the tools they need to manage their finances wherever an internet connection exists and achieve their financial goals.
Finally, I would like to highlight the importance of providing financial opportunities for Bahamians to build homes and start businesses. As we continue to grow and prosper as a nation, our citizens must have access to the resources they need to build a better future for themselves and their families. Whether it’s through affordable mortgage options, small business loans, or other financial products, Bank of The Bahamas is committed to supporting Bahamian entrepreneurs and helping our citizens achieve their dreams.
On behalf of the government and the Bahamian people, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Bank of The Bahamas and wish them continued success in the future.