GIB: banking on the future of Gibraltar

The initial announcement by the government that it will set up a new bank is welcomed by the Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber of Commerce has for some years been highlighting the need for extra banking facilities for its members and the community at large. Ever since Barclays announced the review of its Gibraltar operations in March this year the Chamber’s board has met with the government on a number of occasions to impress upon it the importance of having a modern and competitive banking market. In this respect and in the context of discussing the possibility of a new Government owned bank, the Chamber emphasised the importance of any such bank being operated on an arm’s length basis and independently of Government, managed by suitably qualified professionals and subject to regulation by the Financial Services Commission.

The Chamber is pleased that all of these recommendations have been taken on board by Government. In this context, the Chamber believes that this initiative by the Government is something which will boost the current banking offering and has the advantage of being home grown so that it can be moulded to suit Gibraltar’s business and individual customers’ needs. Such needs do not always sit well with those of mighty global financial institutions.

Setting up the new financial institution will be a complex and time consuming process and many details are yet to be finalised, not least the operating relationship between the new bank and the Gibraltar Savings Bank and so, it is critical to get this right. The government may be using taxpayer’s money as its founding capital, but shareholders must leave the management to manage as they see fit without interference. The bank’s risk analysis and disclosure requirements should be robust and lending terms should be commercial, but reasonable.

The government’s announcement says much about Gibraltar’s confidence in our own commercial future. The Chamber fully shares this confidence.