Development Bank boosting economy by supporting small businesses

Senior Loans/Project Officer at the Nevis branch of the Development Bank, Hyacinth Pemberton (left), shares a light moment with Pastor Alfred Forbes and his wife Lornette at their home in Hermitage, on one of her regular visits to bank clients.

Nevis (March 24, 2010) — Nevisian businessman, Alfred Forbes, is praising the role the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis is playing in boosting the Federation’s economy by supporting small businesses.

“The Development Bank plays a great role as it has enabled people like myself who are from a very humble beginning to be able to earn a decent living,” said Forbes who operates a taxi service, scooter rental and trucking business out of Charlestown.

“The trust the bank has for the small man is so great that as long as one is willing to work, it will be right behind you. They are very helpful to the community and the economy at large, and as for me, it has been a pleasure doing business with the Development Bank.”

The 56-year old businessman, who is also pastor at the Prince Tabernacle of Lower Bath Village, noted that his relationship with the Development Bank started in 1991, when he was given a mortgage that saw him build a three bedroom house on his quarter acre plot at Hermitage.

The mortgage was at that time for eighteen years, meaning that he paid it off last year, but what he did not know was the fact that the Development Bank could allow a client to have more than one loan as long as one is able to service them concurrently. It was an eye opener for the businessman when that happened as he ended up having four loans at the same time.

“As Owner/Manager of my business, I have operated taxi service for over 30 years,” explained Forbes. “Before I used to do regular passenger bus service from Charlestown to the Gingerland area. After that I ventured into taxi and trucking services, but it was not until 2004 when I approached the Development Bank and they gave me a loan to buy a taxi bus.”

Pastor Forbes poses on his compound at Hermitage, showing some of the property the Development Bank has assisted him to acquire – the taxi bus, pickup truck and the house.

Senior Loans/Project Officer at the Nevis branch of the Development Bank, Hyacinth Pemberton, observed that as long as a client has the capacity to service his/her loan, he/she could be considered for an additional loan for an additional project, or the same project as long as the project remains viable.

“Pastor Forbes has been a good client and his business proposals have always met out lending criteria,” noted Pemberton. “When we look at a proposal, we assess the future revenue generating capacity of the project by taking into consideration the market and the general economy. It was therefore quite in order for us to have advanced multiple loans to Pastor Forbes.”

After he got the loan to buy a taxi bus in 2004, while he was still servicing the mortgage to the satisfaction of the bank, he got another loan in 2005 to purchase another taxi bus, a loan in 2007 to purchase a pickup truck for his trucking business and after he would have finished paying off the mortgage last year, he was given another loan to purchase yet another taxi bus.

Pastor Forbes, a father of five and grandfather of thirteen, explained that he previously worked at a juice making factory that was situated at Farms Estate in Nevis, but after its closure, he went into the regular passenger bus business, plying between Charlestown and Gingerland.

For an island that thrives on tourism economy, Forbes has ensured that he gives the best to the visitors. To supplement his taxi businesses he also ventured into scooter rental service after he found out that a number of tourists enjoy seeing the island on scooters. He bought the scooters using funds that have been generated by his other businesses.

Pastor Forbes who is aware that Nevis is still a popular destination among the rich yacht owners, feels that everything possible to make them want to return and also encourage their friends to visit Nevis should be done, especially the speeding up of the immigration processes. Nevis cannot do without tourism, he said.

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