Banking in Barbados - Closing the Account

I got a good piece of banking advice and information from another Fulbrighter who recently left Barbados to go back to the U.S.

As you know, we opened an account here in Barbados. So did the another Fulbrighter, whose fellowship was over at the end of December. When she went close out her Barbadian bank account, she was told she needed a week to get her remaining funds. As a foreign national, she needed to get permission to close the account from the Central Bank, proof from the University of the West Indies that they were NOT paying her, and proof of the original source of the funds, which, I think, was her home bank in the U.S. The CIES Fulbright stipend payment does not go to foreign banks, but to our local banks back home, then we transfer the money to the Barbadian bank. I think that another issue is the Central Bank transactions must take place before noon. Here's her final thought: "If I had known about the need for such documents, I would have started the process the week prior."

So, all you people moving to Barbados, take heed! Follow the steps above and close your bank account in Barbados early.

Photo is from the Library of Virginia's Flickr stream.


Simone said...

Hi, Meg and her blog followers! I'm the Fulbrighter who was a bit surprised by what I had to do to close my bank account in Barbados. It didn't take a week, just a day and a half really, but the quickness was due to the kindness of some people.

I needed a letter from UWI saying that they hadn't paid me, and my Open Campus AA secured that within hours for me.

I needed documentation from the bank where I had an account of the source of the funds with which I'd opened the account (the wire transfer of funds from my USA checking account).

I needed those documents for the Central Bank to know that I didn't have any outstanding taxes due to Barbados. I had a form to fill out (available at my Royal Bank of Canada branch near UWI)and to turn in with those documents during the 8:30-12 am times when the Central Bank handles requests to close bank accounts from foreign nationals.

I secured those documents and the form on Thursday afternoon thanks to the patience and persistence of a customer service agent at my branch of The Royal Bank of Canada. I went to Central Bank first thing on Friday morning with those, and with the form approved within a half-hour, I was at the Bridgetown branch of the Royal Bank of Canada securing a bank draft for the remainder of my account's funds and home before noon on Friday.

So if you don't want to rely on the quickness of a few offices to secure the needed documentation, then I'd suggest starting process earlier than two days before you leave. -- Simone J. Billings, Fulbright Scholar associated with The Open Campus of The University of the West Indies, Fall 2009

Meg said...

Thanks for the clarification, Simone. It's all very helpful advice.

Hope you've adjusted okay to real life back in California. Happy new year!

Simone said...

Happy new year back to you, Meg! Since The Hub had come out for Christmas week and I'd made plans with people (family, friends) to get together for different events when I returned, the transition to the San Francisco Bay Area hasn't been bad at all (other than the 30-40 drop in temperature from Barbados, sigh).

Point of clarification about my post: the Central Bank is open 8 am to 12noon/pm. I mistyped in that earlier comment.

Best wishes for the remainder of your time there--I miss hanging with some of my Bajan buds, but I'm glad to be home with The Hub and The Dog, and I've got other projects for the remainder of my sabbatical here at home.