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Central Bank to increase US$ cash supply, limits

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Central Bank is in advanced negotiations with a major United States money-centre bank to increase the supply of US dollar currency in the local banking system, as the institution moves to respond to complaints from customers of commercial bank about shortages in foreign cash.

In an interview on the Morning Edition television programme on Monday, Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran said that in discussions with the Bankers Association, the Central Bank found that the cash limits for banks selling US currency were “pretty low” relative to the needs of the walk-in customers.

He said in discussions with the association last week, the Central Bank said it was time to look at raising the US dollar cash limits based on the banks’ knowledge of their customers’ needs.

“Raising those limits now means that we now have to ensure that the system has adequate US dollar cash. Given what has been happening with the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing concerns, the banking system’s supply of US currency now comes from one institution: the Bank of America.”

He said that at one time T&T commercial banks had foreign currency supplies coming from two or three other US banks, but there is now a “heavy dependence” on Bank of America. This means, he said, that each local commercial bank has to satisfy more requirements in terms of anti-money laundering concerns.