Published On: Tue, Jan 24th, 2017

Entrepreneur Ife Badejo: “Small businesses will die if banks don’t allow online transactions”

badejoGREAT BAY – Small businesses are going to die if banks do not facilitate entrepreneurs to receive money online. That is the view of consultant and entrepreneur Ifelola Badejo. “We are in the 21st century. Our banking systems unfortunately are stuck somewhere between the 20th century and the 19th Century…I say that to have a reality check. To understand that if they are not moving with the times, they will cause our economies to die,” Badejo says.

Relating from her personal experiences, Badejo recalled inquiring at the bank why she is unable to do transactions online and receive payments, even from Paypal—the most trusted online payment service. “My growth has been limited. In the service industry that I am in, as a consultant, as a speaker, as a trainer; I can make so much more things available online via webinars, via courses, via consulting remotely. But because of that particular challenge, I’m not able to work internationally from the comfort of my home,” Badejo said.  She suggested that if the banks do not provide this service, other services offshore will provide that service and eliminate using local banks.

Badejo understands the need to comply with international banking regulations and to protect St. Maarten from financial liabilities but she says that there must be a way to protect the country without restricting transactions online. “What I understand from the bank as well as from other officials on St. Maarten, because of a Central Bank regulation, they are trying to limit fraud, they are trying to limit embezzlement, they are trying to ensure the 1% transactional cost on the US dollar, they are limiting online transactions.”

“I think they have taken such a stringent approach that it can be counterproductive for the times we live in,” Badejo added. “The way to counteract that is to find a solution that meets laws and that is still within the legal framework, while providing the environment and the tools to allow small and medium enterprises to grow.”

According to Badejo the problem is unique to the Caribbean in general and if it doesn’t change soon, small businesses in the region will die. “If online banking and cross border banking relations are not improved, the economies of the islands will die.”

She alluded to Nigeria, a country that is doing better than the Caribbean in online business transactions, especially since Paypal established an office there recently. “In Nigeria especially, which has been known for fraud internationally, Paypal actually opened last year. So there are Nigerians that are making money there via Paypal.”

Photo caption: Entrepreneur Ifelola Badejo. Photo contributed