The Liberia Banking Association (LBA) has released a new list of names of Liberian and foreign individuals and entities that have been delinquent in paying their loans borrowed from several commercial banks in Monrovia. The new list released late yesterday, shows a cumulative of US$69,883,463.10.
The LBA’s new list of delinquent customers, published in today’s edition of the Daily Observer, include senior Liberian government officials, lawmakers, political figures and those aspiring for elected office, as well as businessmen and women. Some debtors on the list appear two or more times – in one case a debtor owes two separate debts well over US$1 million each. In another case, a known personality owes three different banks a cumulative amount of about US$1 million. The LBA said it is publishing the names in an attempt to shame the debtors for being chronic delinquents unwilling to honor their arrangements with the banks.
The LBA has continued to warn that, unless these debts are settled, the debtors may be denied the privilege to do business with the banks. It was also learned that LBA could seek assistance from banks in Europe and the United States to further punish the debtors for their bad credit worthiness.
The commercial banks, two whom these individuals and entities are indebted, include the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Ecobank Liberia, Access Bank Liberia, Afriland First Bank, Global Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, and the International Bank Liberia Limited.
There are 965 delinquent debtors who have consistently refused to honor their agreements with the banks.
When the Daily Observer published the first series of names on Oct. 13, many Liberians responded with indignation about the blatant unwillingness by the debtors to settle their cumulative US$12 million debts. Some of the debtors on the previous list included presidential aspirants, lawmakers, and senior government officials whose pay-grade many believe could have settled the banks’ claims. People questioned their sincerity as well as their honesty to run for office with the intent to manage the country’s resources.
Since that publication, the LBA disclosed, many of the debtors on that list are finally trying to settle with their respective banks.
The current list is made up of much larger debts, but it’s not over. The LBA says will soon publish a corresponding list of LRD delinquents.
Many have also made references to the United States and Europe where someone with poor credit history is automatically denied any further chance to do business with any bank unless bankruptcy is filed for Chapter 13 (business) or for an individual (Chapter 7), where there is an arrangement, for example, by the federal government of the United States for banks to get some refund. Liberia does not have any such arrangement and therefore the onus is on the banks to find effective means to recoup what is owed them.
Though senior banking officials are not willing to speak further on it, one suggested that a serious action against delinquent debtors could compel them to rush to make arrangements to repay their debts. Another banking official said it is possible for debtors with collaterals to let go of their properties but there is no indication that commercial banks are prepared to go that route.
Meanwhile reports from the LBA have indicated that following the publication of the first series of names of borrowers, some customers have approached the banks and have worked out arrangements to repay their debts to the banks.
The full list of delinquent debtors bank can be found on pages A1 through A10.