A FORMER president of the Chamber of Commerce believes that the Island may benefit from setting up a States-owned bank.
Kevin Keen has put the idea forward for a Bank of Jersey to be established, in a letter published in today’s JEP. He believes that the retention of money in the local economy would be a significant benefit, as would additional competition in the sector.
Mr Keen said that it may be the right time to act to reduce the impact of the credit crunch and make it easier for Islanders to get loans for sensible business propositions. And he said that such a bank would reduce the ‘Little Britain-sketch mentality of “computer says no”‘ that has become more prevalent as banks cut back on borrowing.
But the idea has received a lukewarm response from a number of leading figures in the finance industry. Some finance professionals believe that such an institution would not be sustainable in such a small market. The managing director of UBS, Hans Baerlocher, said it was a non-starter. ‘More money has been lost in the field of traditional banking than in any institutions involved in derivatives or the like. I just don’t know what the hell crosses his mind,’ he said.
• Picture: Jersey has had a number of locally-owned banks in the past