Staff at the two offices, at the corner of Church and Central Streets in Basseterre St. Kitts and the Ward Building on the Island Main Road in Stoney Grove Nevis, wore green t-shirts with a bold message “Ask me about our new products” printed on the front.
Eager members of the public made up of the bank’s clients and prospective clients did exactly what they were challenged to do, and they indeed asked. On asking they received information that resonated well with their financial desires.
That the Development Bank leads in the area of student loans in the Federation, top on the list in terms of clients’ interests was the Student Loan Investment Programme (SLIP), which the General Manager Mr Lenworth Harris has explained is an investment for the future that gives not only security, but attractive returns in terms of interest paid.
When Ms Jamela Warner, the Bank’s Finance and Creditor Relations Officer, finished explaining to Bank client Ms Arlene Rawlins about SLIP, she (Ms Warner) asked, “What do you think of this product?”
Ms Rawlins, who said she is the mother of three, replied: “There is not anything to think about. I am going forward with it.” After reading the brochure, she asked for the SLIP application forms, filled them up, and went to the cashier, Mr Steve Small, and opened an account for her last born child who is ten years old.
“This SLIP programme entails individuals making an investment that can grow over a period of time,” explained General Manager Mr Harris. “We anticipate that this investment should be between five to 25 years. There is a very attractive return on it at 4.5% to try to attract persons to do that.
“It should, we believe, remove some of the hassles and challenges that parents face in preparing their children for tertiary education. Finding guarantors is becoming more difficult, and actually cost of education is going up. So, even a loan by itself is not sufficient enough in most instances to satisfy the needs.”
Reports from the Nevis office indicate that SLIP was very popular with the bank’s clients and according to the Acting Branch Manager, Ms Hyacinth Pemberton, while many took the application forms with them, one filled it up and opened an account.
“Our staff was kept busy throughout the entire morning with customers mostly old ones and a few new ones wanting to find out what new products the bank was offering,” explained Ms Pemberton. “I am very happy that the Nevis public still has faith in Development Bank and we promise to serve them well, offering what is best for them.”
Other products included the Student Card, which is a MasterCard Prepaid Debit Card that has been developed in collaboration with the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank. Students with loans from the Development Bank will no longer have to waste time and money as loans monies are being wired to them.
According to the Development Bank, student loan monies would be loaded to the student card and all the students would have to do would be to swipe their MasterCard Prepaid card wherever they are in the world and access their funds.
Another of the product launched that was a hit with the clients was the point sale terminal at the Bank, from where clients could make their loan repayments using their debit or credit cards. A visitor on the Bank’s Facebook page, Ms Carol Curtis said: “Awesome and very handy!”
The Development Bank also re-launched its website (http://www.skndb.com/) which has new features, and launched the Facebook page. An attractive feature on the website is a platform where businesses that are clients of the Bank could advertise their products and services free of cost
“I wish to thank the general public for coming out and involving themselves and showing great interest in the products,” said General Manager Mr Lenworth Harris at the end of a hectic day on Friday.
“The level of interest shown by the public convinces that launch itself has indeed been a success. Going forward now is just for us to monitor and make adjustments where necessary to make sure the interests of our clients are at the forefront of everything that we do.”
Coordinator of the launch event, Mrs Vernitha Maynard, said that the great and warm response shown by the public made the event a success. She noted that people came and were very inquisitive about the new products and responded positively when details were given to them.
“The shirt really sold, because some of us walked across the road and people were like, what new products?” said Mrs Maynard of the promotional T-shirt that was worn by staff members. “People were receptive to what we were doing and happy to hear about the SLIP programme and the fact that they could now come and pay their loan by the counter using their credit card/debit card.”