Basseterre, St. Kitts — Twenty-year old Ms Sydnee Maynard has recently joined the elite club of a cadre of students who, thanks to the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis in collaboration with the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, is able to access college tuition fees from proceeds of a student loan in a most hassle free manner.
Two days before she boarded a British Airways Boeing 777 at the R.L.B. International Airport in St. Kitts for London Gatwick in England from where she would travel to Kent to start a four-year degree course in Biomedical Science at the University of Kent, she was handed a new companion-in-chief at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, which of course is the leading institution in student loans, in collaboration with the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank is issuing prepaid MasterCard debit cards to students,” explained Development Bank’s Manager, Loans Management Department, Mrs Jasmine Irish.
Mrs Irish made the remarks last week Thursday (September 17th) in her office as she presented Ms Sydnee Maynard with a prepaid MasterCard Debit Card. Ms Maynard is one of the many card recipients who have left the Federation to further her studies during this academic season courtesy of student loans from the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
On receiving the prepaid debit card, Ms Maynard advised that she was going to use it to pay part of her tuition fees, since the funds were uploaded to the card. This would not have happened previously before the collaboration between Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank which has made that possible.
“The debit card cuts the disbursement processing time in half,” explained Mrs Irish. “While it has maintenance and transaction charges attached to it, the card eliminates the excessive transaction charges, students would normally have to pay for a draft or wire transfer. It also eliminates the hassle in terms of preparing cheques and payment order forms for the students.
“But now, with the cards all we have to do is upload the funds to the card and the students get it immediately. This process takes less than five minutes. It is easier in terms of the students making their payments, all it takes is a swipe of the card and the payments are made. The cards are available in US Dollars.”
Ms Sydnee Maynard, who attended the Basseterre High School and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College worked in the Ministry of Sustainable Development for a year and a couple of months.
“Then I decided to leave to go to university,” said Ms Maynard. “I was shopping around to see the different banks including the National Bank, but then my mother told me to investigate the student loan offer at Development Bank, and that is why I came here.
“It was pleasant, and the bank staff members were very helpful, and the loan is able to cover my education. I would like to say that it may seem hard (to get a student loan) if you do not come from a family who is well off. You have to keep on, because anything is possible even if you might not see like something happening, it will happen. And we have friends at Development Bank who will help your dreams come true.”
At the end of her four-year tenure at the University of Kent, Ms Maynard expects to come back to St. Kitts and Nevis to contribute to the country’s social and economic development. She added: “I like to assist my country in any way possible.”
Mr Carlton Pogson, Assistant General Manager at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis said that the institution took that direction for the benefit of its customers. He explained that previously students who are going away for studies used to be given international drafts that would take a considerable time to clear.
“Sometimes when we send wires, if there is an error in a coding it is a back and forth before the students can get funds,” noted Mr Pogson. “So as to ensure that when the students leave the Federation they leave with monies to pay their tuition, pay their room and board and other things, we have gone the route of giving them the prepaid debit card.
“Moreover, with the change in global financial dynamics, third party wire transfers and drafts are slowly becoming a challenge with international banks. So, as a means of reducing that third party headache and the associated risks, we opted to go the prepaid debit card option, as we have now become a more cash/cheque-less society.”
Since the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis is not a commercial bank, it has always offered drafts through the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank.
“They have been brought on board the international card system, and we sought to make a strategic alliance with the National Bank Card Centre as to how we can partner for the benefit of our students in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Mr Pogson. “So it is not a Development Bank-branded card, but it is National Bank Card Centre-branded card and the student does not need to have an account at National Bank.”