European Investment Bank praises the Development Bank of St Kitts and Nevis as it extends US$ 8 million line of credit

Signing for the EC$8 million line of credit, from right: Chairman of the Development Bank, Mr Elvis Newton, General Manager of the Development Bank, Mr Lenworth Harris, and Mr Yves Ferreira, European Investment Bank’s Head of the Regional Representation in the Caribbean

St. Kitts (December 20, 2010) — A top official of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has said that the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) not only commands a leading position and expertise in small and medium sized enterprises financing, but also has the ability to offer technical assistance to its clients.

Mr Yves Ferreira, European Investment Bank’s Head of the Regional Representation in the Caribbean said his organisation has been associated with the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis since its inception nearly thirty years ago. This association has seen the European Investment Bank provide the Development Bank three lines of credit, the first one being on July 21, 1983.

The European Investment Bank official made those remarks on Friday (December 17) at a press conference held at the Development Bank’s headquarters in Basseterre. The two banks signed documents to provide the fourth line of credit, to the Development Bank, of US$ 8 million to support small and medium sized enterprises and renewable energy in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

“Indeed, with the signature of these agreements for a total of USD 8 million, we are doubling European Investment Bank’s lending to the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis,” said Mr Ferreira. “But more importantly, at the EIB we are very much convinced that micro, small and medium size companies are a vital engine of economic growth in the Federation. Thus, facilitating access to term finance to this type of enterprises is critical.”

The signing ceremony was chaired by the General Manager of the Development Bank, Mr Lenworth Harris, and appending signatures included the Development Bank’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr Elvis Newton, Mr Ferreira and Mr Harris. In attendance were members of the Development Bank’s Board of Governors and Mr Paul Lloyd of the Department of Energy in the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities.

“This line of credit has come at a most opportune time for the Federation and indeed the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis,” said the bank’s General Manager, Mr Lenworth Harris. He explained that the line of credit had come at a time when it had been difficult world over to obtain financing.

Witnessing the signing ceremony were Board Members of the Development Bank, from right Ms Rubie Taylor, Mrs Sonita Daniel, Dr Telbert Glasgow, Mr Levi Bradshaw (standing), and Mr Walton Jacobs. Nearest the camera is Mr Paul Lloyd, an official of the Department of Energy

“At this time our economy is going through a transition,” pointed out Mr Harris. “It is just on the rebound from recessionary times that have hit the world and this line of credit would definitely help the bank in facilitating that transition.”

Looking into 2011, the General Manager said that with the money received from the European Investment Bank, the bank should be able to impact positively on the economy by way of employment, whereby much savings will be generated in terms of reduction through importation as the bank facilitates production in both the agriculture and the manufacturing sector.

“The line would specifically allow us to finance activities in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, agro-processing; it will enable us to provide funding in the area of construction in terms of business development and generally for any productive activity,” noted Mr Harris. “We would be able to fund, using the EIB funds, loans ranging from anywhere from US$10,000 up to a million US dollars.”

In giving his remarks, Development Bank’s Chairman, Mr Elvis Newton Elvis Newton, observed that the bank was established by the government to generate economic development and to empower the groups of persons who would not normally otherwise be empowered through the traditional financial sector.

“Therefore it is very important that we recognise that mandate and we seek at all times to fulfill it, and in this instance the European Investment Bank has recognised the importance of that mandate and we have been supported up to now and it is interesting to note the corresponding increase in the funds every time that a new line of credit has been negotiated,” observed Mr Newton.

The Chairman revealed that the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis currently has a portfolio of EC$228 million, has been profitable and he estimated that it now currently occupies about 11 percent of the entire banking sector in the Federation.

In his closing remarks, Mr Elvis Newton said: “I believe that Christmas has come a few days early for the Development Bank and so I would want to thank the European Investment Bank for its ongoing support.”

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