Join the Money Massive Crew! By signing up you'll get access personal finance tools, resources and more. Sign up now!

Caribbean Student Loans

The Caribbean Development’s Student Loan Scheme Assessment

The Caribbean Development Bank's Student Loan Scheme Assessment

 This post if part of the Financial Information Month 2016: Student Loan Series. During the Month of October, I will be sharing information about Caribbean Student Loans, stories from borrowers and highlighting the missed opportunities to address the current issues with the Student Loan System in the Eastern Caribbean.

Just over 3 decades after the Caribbean Development Bank set up the Student Loan Scheme in the Caribbean, a report on the assessment of the Scheme issued in 2005. The assessment explored the impact and effectiveness of the money provided to Banks throughout the Caribbean to offer student loans in the respective countries.


The Caribbean Development's bank Student Loan Scheme Related Article


What interested me the most about this report, were:

  • The interviews that the assessment team conducted with borrowers;
  • The  areas of improvement for Caribbean lenders identified; and
  • The fact that recommendations made largely remain unaddressed more than 10 years later.

I was very surprised that this assessment existed and even more surprised to read about the borrowers’ experiences that mirrored Caribbean student loan borrowers’ experiences with the same Student Loan Scheme today.

Here’s what the assessment found.


Caribbean Student Loan Borrower Experiences

Caribbean Development Bank Universalia 2005 Student Loan Scheme Assessment Borrower Experiences


Caribbean Lender Areas For Improvement

Caribbean Development Bank Universalia 2005 Student Loan Scheme Assessment Areas for Improvement for Caribbean Student Loan Lenders

 

I find it amazing that not much has changed since Caribbean borrower experiences were documented and specific recommendations for improvement for Caribbean lenders were reported.

What do you think about the 2005 assessment’s findings and recommendations?


Want to Learn More About Caribbean Student Loans? Grab This Book Preview!

Student Loan Answers A 7 Step Guide To Understanding Your Caribbean Student Loan Book Preview Download a Copy


St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Borrower Student Loan Story

St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank Student Loan Borrower Experience

This post if part of the Financial Information Month 2016: Student Loan Series. During the Month of October, I will be sharing information about Caribbean Student Loans, stories from borrowers and highlighting the missed opportunities to address the current issues with Student Loan System in the Eastern Caribbean.

Today I am sharing a Kittitian student loan borrower’s experience with a student loan from the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Limited. The borrower requested to remain anonymous and I have respected that request. Here is this borrower’s Caribbean Student Loan Story.

Question 1: What best describes your experience with having a Caribbean Student Loan?

It has been a nightmare!

Question 2: When you first took out your student loan, what was your understanding of what you signed up for?

That it was [$37,202 US ($100,000 EC) ] I would pay the interest only while in [school] which would keep loan at [$37,202 ($100,000 EC)] then upon graduation, after a grace period, I would begin to pay off loan in full with comfortable monthly payments that was realistic to my income/expenses and that this would be calculated on the reducing balance system.

Question 3: Was it clear to you what the interest rate was, the amortization method used, how interest would accrue while you were in school & during the repayment period?

I was told [if] I paid interest only while in school I would not [have accrued] onterest in my loan until graduation. The opposite happened they charged me interest still.

Question 4: Were you the first in your immediate family/ household to go to college and take out a Caribbean Student Loan?

No.


I was told [that if] I paid interest only while in school I would not [have accrued] interest in my loan until graduation. The opposite happened, they charged me interest still.


Question 5: Did anyone in your family have a student loan who could provide guidance and tips to help you navigate your own student loan?

No.

Question 6: Share your experience navigating your student loan? What information was provided to help you understand your loan? Describe your experience communicating with your lender, and the customer service you received.

My experience has been like living in [hell]. No additional information has been provided to me despite my request. The communication between the bank and myself is horrible. They are not interested in answering my questions only collecting their money. Their phone service is horrible. I cannot verify myself over the phone although I answer all my security questions correctly, getting statements from them is a nightmare as well.

Question 7: Since having your student loan, how easy or difficult has it been to request disbursements, payment status or account balance information from your lender?

In the beginning, it was very difficult, I used to get disbursement via cheques and the cheques would either have the wrong name on it, the wrong amount or arrive extremely late. Then later on the money was deposited to my account and I would just have to pay by swiping the card. But even that was a challenge because the card would have a block on it for international transactions which was ridiculous since I lived in the USA. Every semester I would walk through hell just to get them to open up the card so I could pay my tuition. Then, in the end, it’s another battle of trying to get payment statements and balances.

Question 8: What have you found the most effective way to communicate with your lender?

Dealing with someone you or your family knows, personally.

Question 9: Is there any aspect of your student loan that you are still unclear of today (e.g. how payments are applied to your balances, how many payments you have left of how to pay off your loan faster, how to get your loan out of default, how to resolve an ongoing dispute)?

How my payments are applied to my loan and why my balance is hardly moving.

Question 10: Have you had any disputes with you lender related account transactions, outstanding principal or interest balances, fees or payments not applied as you expected?

Yes.


Related Article My Caribbean Student Loan Story


Question 11: Have you faced the situation of not being in a position to pay your required monthly payment? If so, did you request temporary relief from payment and was there clear information about how to seek out and be approved this relief?

No.

Question 12: What did you wish you had known about Caribbean student loans before you took one out?

That it was a nightmare and that I should have never taken out one.

Question 13: What advice would you give to someone who is considering taking out a Caribbean student loan?

My honest answer would be, don’t. Do a private [personal] loan, interest rates seem higher but in the long run it’s better than a student loan.

Question 14: Share any other thoughts you have about Caribbean student loans or your lender.

Banks need to come up with a system that opens the lines of communication and understanding between lender and borrower. Banks need to be timely and accurate on their statements. Banks need to improve on how students living overseas can access their accounts and verify themselves.

This is quite a story! I really wish this borrower did not have to go through this. Experiences like these highlight how serious the challenges are and confirm exactly why we need this Student Loan Series.

Tune In! Freedom FM 106.5 Youth Beat Radio Show

Freedom FM 106.5 Youth Beat Radio Show for FIM 2016

This post if part of the Financial Information Month 2016: Student Loan Series. During the Month of October, I will be sharing information about Caribbean Student Loans, stories from borrowers and highlighting the missed opportunities to address the current issues with Student Loan System in the Eastern Caribbean.

I am excited to share that the Student Loan Series is coming to Radio. Tune in to Freedom FM 106.5‘s Youth Beat Radio show, Wednesday, October 19th 2016 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM (EST) to listen to Tasha, Kimalee and me share our experiences with Caribbean Student Loans.

Student Loan Series on Freedom FM 106.5 Youth Beat Radio Show St. kitts and Nevis

You can listen in via the live stream on the Freedom FM website or download the TuneIn app and search for Freedom FM 106.5 station.

I hope you can listen in!


Financial Information Month Student Loan Series 2016 More Related Articles


We are still collecting stories! What has your experience been with your student loan? I would love to feature your story. Your can submit your story all throughout out the Month of October 2016. Just click the below to join the regional and diasporic conversation!

Submit Your Story


Student Loan Answers Book Preview Banner Your Money Worth Home Page

Download The Book Preview

* indicates required


Email Format



Development Bank of St. Kitts & Nevis Customer Forum Recap

devtbankcusforum-blog

This post if part of the Financial Information Month 2016: Student Loan Series. During the Month of October, I will be sharing information about Caribbean Student Loans, stories from borrowers and highlighting the missed opportunities to address the current issues with Student Loan System in the Eastern Caribbean.

Back in May of this year the Development Bank of St. Kitts & Nevis had an online Customer Forum as part of their 35th Anniversary celebrations and the reveal of their updated website.  I was able to attend the forum and did a recap in the video below.



Development Bank of SKN Customer Forum Recap from Melisa on Vimeo.


Recap Video Highlights

  • The customer forum took place on the Development Bank of St. Kitts & Nevis’ re-designed website
  • Customers were able to view Development Bank Staff’s presentation on a live stream and ask questions in a chat box
  • One customer expressed not having any issues with their loans and an over all positive experience.
  • Another forum participant expressed that they had been making repayments for a number of years and could not understand how they were bring applied
  • Mr. Lenworth Harris the Bank’s General Manager and Mrs. Jasmine Irish the Loans Department Manager answered customer questions.
  • Development bank highlighted the new online customer service system.
  • Mr. Harris acknowledged that the Bank is aware that customer confusion about how their loans work and that the forum and the new online customer service platform was a way to address that.

It took a look around the new website and in addition to the online customer service platform, the website is easier to navigate and now mobile friendly. The new website does not include:

  • An online payment system for customers
  • Detailed information about loan products regarding capitalization, interest accumulation and how payments are applied to customer accounts.
  • Online account access for customers.
  • Online statements.

Did you participate in the forum? What are your thoughts on the changes Development Bank made to their website, including the new customer service platform?

Let me know!

Tasha’s Caribbean Student Loan Story

 

Tasha's Caribbean Student Loan Story

This post if part of the Financial Information Month 2016: Student Loan Series. During the Month of October, I will be sharing information about Caribbean Student Loans, stories from borrowers and highlighting the missed opportunities to address the current issues with Student Loan System in the Eastern Caribbean.

Today I am sharing Tasha’s answers to questions about her experience with her Caribbean Student Loan from the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis that she submitted via the Share Your Story Form. She completed lives and works in the United states and is a graduated of the University of Houston Downtown Campus. Here is Tasha’s Caribbean Student Loan Story.

Question 1: What best describes your experience with having a Caribbean Student Loan?

It has been a nightmare.

Question 2: When you first took out your student loan, what was your understanding of what you signed up for?

I understood that I borrowed a sum of money that I would have to pay back plus interest after completing my studies. However I expect clear upfront information, proper account management with accurate documentation of loan activities.

Question 3: Was it clear to you what the interest rate was, the amortization method used, how interest would accrue while you were in school & during the repayment period?

The interest rate was stated as 9% there was no other mention of how it would be calculated.

Question 4: Aside from the bond or promissory note you signed agreeing to the terms and conditions of the student loan, did you receive any additional correspondence of how to navigate your student loan

No.

Question 5: Were you the first in your immediate family/ household to go to college and take out a Caribbean Student Loan?

Yes.


Tasha - Development Bank of St. Kitts & Nevis Student Loan Borrower
Tasha – Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis Student Loan Borrower

Question 6: Did anyone in your family have a student loan who could provide guidance and tips to help you navigate your own student loan? 

No.

Question 7: Share your experience navigating your student loan? What information was provide to help you understand your loan? Describe your experience communicating with your lender, and the customer service you received.

No information was provided to aid in understanding the loan. There has been lack of information, unexplained discrepancies, unreturned phone calls and unanswered emails.

Question 8: Since having your student loan, how easy or difficult has it been to request disbursements, payment status or account balance information from your lender?

It took years to get statements [and] pretty [much] any account information.

Question 9: What have you found the most effective way to communicate with your lender?

None.

Question 10: Is there any aspect of your student loan that you are still unclear of today (e.g. how payments are applied to your balances, how many payments you have left of how to pay off your loan faster, how to get your loan out of default, how to resolve an ongoing dispute)?

All of it.

Question 11: Have you had any disputes with you lender related account transactions, outstanding principal or interest balances, fees or payments not applied as you expected?

Yes.


Related Article My Caribbean Student Loan Story


Question 12: Have you faced the situation of not being in a position to pay your required monthly payment? If so, did you request temporary relief from payment and was there clear information about how to seek out and be approved this relief?

No.

Question 13: What did you wish you had known about Caribbean student loans before you took one out?

[Wish] I had better borrowing options . I would have never considered borrowing from a Caribbean bank.

Question 14: What advice would you give to someone who is considering taking out a Caribbean student loan?

Seek other options first

Question 15: Share any other thoughts you have about Caribbean student loans or your lender.

They need to do a lot better

Thank you Tasha for sharing your story!


What has your experience been with your student loan? I would love to feature your story. Your can submit your story all throughout out the Month of October 2016. Just click the below to join the regional and diasporic conversation!

Submit Your Story


Student Loan Answers Book Preview Banner Your Money Worth Home Page

Download The Book Preview

* indicates required


Email Format