Following the 100 basis points decrease of the US Federal Funds Rate earlier this week Butterfield Bank announced that it will reduce Cayman dollar and US dollar prime rates by one percentage point to 3.25%, with effect from Monday, 23 March.
Michael McWatt, Butterfield’s managing director in Cayman, said, “It is our intention, with this significant decrease in rates, to help ease the financial burden on personal banking and business customers whose income may be impacted by the potential decrease in local economic activity associated with the health crisis.”
The bank is also reviewing fee schedules and payment terms of certain other products and may make changes to provide additional relief to customers during this challenging period. This could include providing extensions on the repayment of credit card balances, McWatt said in a press release.
“We want our customers to know that we are here to support them, and those who may find themselves in financial difficulty should not hesitate to reach out to us to discuss their situations,” he said.
McWatt added it was the bank’s priority to do its part to help protect the health of the community and to keep the economy functioning.
Last week the Cayman Islands Bankers Association released a message reassuring banking customers, who are having difficulties servicing their debts due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The association said all member banks would work with customers, whose salaries are impacted, to find a realistic repayment solution.
However, the banking body said it was important to engage with lenders as early as possible to develop a strategy to manage the financial commitments.
Butterfield placed a moratorium on business travel on 6 March and has put in place rigid protocols for self-isolation by employees who are returning from personal trips.
The bank said it has further enhanced its cleaning regimen in banking centres and offices.
Butterfield continues to provide in-person banking services at its four branches in Cayman from Monday through Friday. But, in keeping with government’s direction to limit large gatherings of people, the bank is encouraging customers to make use of electronic banking options, such as online and mobile banking, and to use ATM services.
Saturday banking at Butterfield’s Governors Square branch will be suspended until further notice.
The bank is similarly encouraging customers to discuss lending solutions with its personal lending department by telephone, rather than in person.
Internally, Butterfield Group said it is splitting teams across buildings, implementing shifts and, where possible, directing employees to work from home to improve social distancing and lower the potential for transmission of the virus.