CUB making a profit

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Three years after the government invested $30 million  in equity to take majority shares in the Caribbean Union Bank (CUB), the financial institution has turned a profit in its last operational cycle.
Melford Nicholas, information minister, explained yesterday that CUB is now on a stronger footing than it was in 2016 when the government stepped in and all its vital performance indicators have improved.
The top managers of the bank were invited to Cabinet on Wednesday to report on the bank’s financial health.
“Over the last financial year, not only has the bank rolled back into the game. They have been able to boast an operational profit, though minimal, of approximately $1 million,” Nicholas said during Thursday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.
 The minister also stated that while the bank has turned a profit, there are certain accumulated deficits which existed for years and as a result of this, the government would forgo the payment of any dividend at this stage.
“It is good that the bank is in a better financial health, but I think it may be premature at this stage for the government to be able to draw down a dividend cheque until all those obligations are liquidated,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, according to the weekly Cabinet notes, the CUB will be offering 6 percent interest mortgages to customers who wish to purchase homes from National Housing which are owned by the government.
It was also revealed that CUB will be putting in place a plan to finance the purchase of lands, to be sold by the government, at a highly-subsidised price.
In 2016, Prime Minister Gaston Browne defended his administration’s decision to take over the bank which was chaired by Antigua’s Ambassador to China, Brian Stuart Young.
Pundits had called the cash injection a “bailout” due to the PM’s close relationship with Ambassador Young. However, the PM insisted that the decision was in the best interest of maintaining stability in the financial services sector.

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