Pharmacists Learn of Consumer Debt Challenges

Franon Wilson, President of Arawak Homes delivered a presentation to the members of the Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association (BPA) as part of their continuing education credits on Tuesday June 14, 2016. He was led to read a speech by Sunshine Holdings’ Ltd. Chairman, Sir Franklyn Wilson regarding consumer debt and spending habits in current times. Sir Franklyn’s speech, delivered for the first time since his presentation in September 2015 to members of St. Barnabas remained powerful and timely and on this platform the President gave valuable insight to the Association.

The President engaged members of the BPA to listen attentively so as to understand how we, as consumers, mortgagees and borrowers, employees and business professionals find ourselves in compromising positions with financial institutions, mainly the consumer banks. He highlighted the great need of the consuming public to change its practices as it relates to saving and fiscal responsibility. Bringing some examples to give perspective to his audience, he showed how lending institutions such as the commercial banks require to date 20% down on the majority of mortgage applications; a requirement that did not pose a major problem for clients in the past. In previous Bahamian fiscal culture, saving was part of their habit; they were taught to save. Our present Bahamian consuming public is now challenged to satisfy this pre-qualifier due to so many hurdles created by not upholding these good financial habits and as a result of no savings, bad credit, unpaid loans; many persons do not easily pass this requirement to make the next step into property investment opportunities.

Mr. Wilson confirmed the all too familiar fact that in today’s Bahamian society many Public Service Employees maintain debt service ratios capped at a twenty eight percent 28% “take home” income. This means that 72% of their salary is “ear-marked” for consumer debt, mortgages and any other loans that must be paid. How is it that only 28% of someone’s salary can afford utilities, groceries, school fees, insurances, gas for the car, cooking and in some cases rent?! He made it abundantly clear that as the consuming public, both in private and government employed sectors, we put ourselves in too debt that we cut our dreams short and make them less attainable. Mr. Wilson also emphasized the need to be frugal in spending. He gave scenarios of how even now the interest rates are at an all-time low and consumers need to take advantage of it, but, even at 4% or 5.25%, client savings are still a challenge in securing business loans/mortgages.

The President concluded his presentation on a hopeful yet grounded note of encouragement by reemphasizing to the group the need to end the cycle of unfettered borrowing and consumerism in order to help achieve any professional goal one may have in this lifetime. He demanded that they take charge of debt and plan to be successful.

The group was very appreciative of the insight he brought and the advice he provided. Mr. Wilson was happy to have conducted a talk and wished them well in their renewed confidence in attaining real estate investment opportunities from this perspective.