Open letter to AID Bank

Dear AID Bank,

My name is Tom, my friend Dion from Castle Bruce (name and location changed to protect identity) told me I should check your institution if I would like information on student loans. Dion has ambitions of being a doctor; I have ambitions of being an accountant.

I visited the bank, did my research and boy….was I surprised when I got down to reality!! So I hereby put it in writing to you, expecting a reply in writing.

My father is a farmer and my mother is a domestic worker who sometimes helps him on the farm. I have 2 other siblings who are also interested in pursuing university education. My father has been having a difficult year, the drought has affected us real bad, and banana sales have dropped. He is still paying on our home, he has a mortgage with the Credit Union and he as 4 x 4 pick-up, which he is almost done paying for it. On one occasion he missed two payments and it was “shut down” on him. He took an extension on the already lengthy mortgage to payoff the pick-up. Despite my father’s many commitments he is determine to see his first son go to university.

The cost of my degree is estimated at $120,000.00. My relatives have offered to help where I fall short. The bank said I will require security, my father has ten acres of land which was last valued at $15,000.00 per acre. It is gently sloping land (No, not hills and valleys). My father is excited about being my guarantor, about having his son get a university education. I was told you could take it from his banana sales and if there is any left over it will be refunded to him. I would also need insurance which is available at the bank or from an insurance company (an additional cost). I would also need a medical along with some other things which I know I will be able to get done.

On my return home, all excited about the prospect of going to study, I sat down and did my calculations to ascertain the cost of getting a loan of $120, 000.00 at 9% for 12 years, disbursed (learnt that word while at the bank) in three disbursements of $40,000.00.

ONE    $300.00 Per month
TWO    $600.00 Per month
THREE    $900.00 (about that per month)

Now, it’s when I did these calculations that the depression hit!!!!! Mr. General Manager, with the state of the banana industry and the world-wide economy, are these payments practical for my father? When I am finished I am granted three months grace to fine a job so that’s another $2700.00 my father would have to pay.

In actuality, by completion of my studies, my father (not me) would have paid an estimated $24,300.00 interest (not principal).

After graduation and when I start working, which hopefully I get a job within three (3) months, I have to Pay EC$1,388.40 every month for 12 years. My Interest payments alone would be about $76,000.00 at the end of the 12 years plus what my father has paid, together, we would have paid about $100,000.00 in interest. Not yet principal!!!

Alas, as your acronym says AID that is no AID at all that is Business.

So I am left with a few options:

1.    Take the loan, ask my parents to deprive my siblings of certain needs whilst I am away, make my parents proud and pay the best I can.
2.    After studying , not return to Dominica and have you seize my father’s 10 acres.(Become delinquent)
3.    Return Home, not pay and wait till the court reduces the interest to 5% percent. (Become delinquent)
4.    Forget my ambitions of a university education, work on the farm with my father, build a house, and buy a pick-up.
5.    Work hard on at a scholarship (this is my best choice)

I understand why the bank made a Million dollars profit last financial year. While you reduce the interest rate from 10%/10.5% to 9% you have extended the period from 10 years to 12 years, so the total interest paid is pretty much the same. (Kind of deceiving but I guess its all about the profit)

In closing, I do not think I will be coming to your institution for any student loan. It is likely to cripple my father’s financial state for the three years and beyond, deprive my siblings of similar opportunities, and cripple me for 12 years. Will I be able to afford to build a house or even rent on the salaries professionals are paid in Dominica?

My family is unable to sustain such pressure; I guess the “global financial crisis” has not affected the AID bank thanks to the many paying students. Look forward to bigger profits next financial year.

Yours truly, an aspiring young man,

Tom James

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  1. A concern Dominican
    January 28, 2011

    My mom went to all the banks in Dominica to get a loan for me to go to university However, Aid bank was the only bank that approved my student loan. Since then my sister and I have both competed Masters degrees, thanks to AID bank. In business there is a simple rule which is: “the higher the risk the higher the interest rate. Tom, in the real world some one who have problems paying his existing loans would not have a chance to get a student loan for his son. We Dominicans need to learn to appreciate what we have. The only reason why AID bank is making profits is because it is providing a good service. Lets not penalize a Dominican institutional which was designed to assist Dominicans for its success.

    Tom my advice to you is to take the loan and go to school when you are done help your siblings to do the same. Accountants all over the world make a lot of money so $1 300 would be nothing for you to pay back when you are qualified. You would also be able to pay the interest for your sibling when it is their turn to go to school.

    Let us not bite the hand the feed us.

    A concern citizen.

  2. Sahara
    April 29, 2010

    Many of us take loans under the pretense of furthering our education at American colleges or universities; however when we get to America, we forget what we came for and instead marry for Green Card and never return to Dominica much more to repay the loans that we took.

    Even if the bank made a profit, it has to be able to maintain itself and provide aid to others in need other than student loans. Why don’t those of us who are quick to criticize the AID Bank doesn’t encourage our relatives to repay the loans.

    They were happy to receive the loans they should be happier to repay because after all, AID Bank was there when they need it and don’t forget that there are alternatives to AID Bank.

  3. lovely dominica
    April 29, 2010

    Take a look around and tell me how many of the houses built across the country belong to professionals who went to university,

      May 2, 2010

      Sorry I am confused by your statment………….

      Are you implying that the people who become delinquent on their loans for as you say “those big houses in DA”, not just from the AID Bank but also from other financial institutions on the island, some how excuses the students who willingly signed an agreement with the AID Bank to honour their loan repayments should be overlooked and not chased up or what?

      I also think that is just the tip of the iceberg and so many more institutions on the island will be following suit to “name and shame” the ones who are ignoring and not making any attempts to pay what they can with these institutions.


  4. stupes
    April 29, 2010

    hahahahahahaha big joke!

    Well Mr Tom, I would have advised you to get a scholarship from the Government, but you are disadvantaged because of your sex…lol!

    Also, if you knew someone who knew a government official personally or is a POTO LABOURITE, your chances would be greater. But if you are like me, who choose to go the “straight and narrow road” to apply for a scholarship via Ministry of Education, and get turned down multiple times, when you know of others less qualified who are approved, I feel your pain…

    My next best advice is to look at other options for education…online…UWI…correspondence etc. Accounting is not a specialist field like medicine that you actually have to be on campus for…I would know because my degree is in Accounting, and I am loan free! My finances are totally available to continue my life (home, kids, vehicle) and not tied down to AID Bank for years.

      May 2, 2010

      Silly persone

      What has someone’s gender and political aflliation have to do with anything?

      The issue here is people securing loans or scholarships and not upholding their end of the bargain to honour with payments.

      People who want to study these in Dominica, have a wide variety of options in order to go to university whether that be applying for the scholarhips that universities in the states sometimes make twice yearly visits to Dominica, like (Grambling University) and others to recruit prospective students, providing their family can come up with the funds or some funds towards this.

      Secondly, for a small island state like Dominica, it would be rediculously simplistic or unrealistic to expect whoever the governement in office is, current or otherwise to fit the bill to send every prospective student to university abroad.

      This is just plain common sense and the heavy satuation of politics in Dominica in every conceivable conversation is disheartening and sad to say the least and one of the major problems why Dominica is trailing some of its contempories for years now.



  5. rushand
    April 28, 2010

    good job Tom

    I also have been accepted by a prestigious institution to pursue university education overseas, of total cost 120 000. Unlike you i was born into a poor malawais family and it is only now with my generation things seem to be a little better economically and we are now in the middle class .

    Like you my parents are quite happy to have their first one go to university, and well my step father though reluctantly at first is willing to use the family house and land as security. Now the property is worth three times the loan……however the interset that they would have to pay monthly whilst am away means that my 4 younger siblings and parents will not have anything but sugar water three times a day, deprive themselves of basic utilities for the entire year whilst my step dad entire salary goes to paying back the interest, not the principal you know, the interest, which falls about $1300.

    My mum has to stay home to care for my 2 mentally challenged and 1 physically and mentally challenged brother. My sister well she is still young. Tell me is it too much for them to have the hope that i would succeed with my education, so that i could be financially stable to take care of the family/?
    I was excited before going to the AID bank, but when I left there the world looked bleaked, I gave up on the idea of ambition……ISNT THAT BANK SUPPOSE TO HELP THE UNDERPRIVELEDGE, I WANTED TO JUST SCREAM OR DESTROY THE BANK .

    Like you Tom, I thought of things and I have a couple of options;

    1 Take the loan , and starve my family

    2 forget the loan, screw who i got to screw to get what the hell I want ( am no whore)

    3 forget the loan, and join the fast cash drug trade to get what the hell i want ( am no druggie)

    4 forget the loan, and try for a scholarship ( difficult to get one to support this, competition tight)



    • April 29, 2010

      To the Youth:

      Your plight is understood and YES the bank should review its policies.

      BUT bear in mind:

      1. Rome was NOT built in a day.
      2. If you are poor, why should you want to attend university the year after Dominica State College?
      3. If you are poor and come from a single parent family, why not obey your mom/dad and obtain good grades, increase your chances of success, stay away from drugs, abstain from sex?
      4. If you are poor, why force your retired parents to send you to university when you refuse to work, refuse to save a dime, or pick and choose jobs instead of decently earning a salary?
      5. If you are poor and soooo badly want a degree, why do you look down on going to Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, China, Brunei and do not make the best of those opportunities, or even attend classes locally with UWI? Tell me, what really are your options as a poor person whose parents’ property is tied up in mortgage or if your parents do not own any property?
      6. At what point do you COME TO TERMS with YOUR REALITY? And work, live and ACT with a better future in mind, thinking of laying a better foundation for your siblings?
      6. If you are poor, why don’t you look at other poor people who succeeded by simply putting GOD FIRST, PRIORITIZING and knowing that ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY?

      My dear, tha bank can review its policies to facilitate us. If they do and you receive that money, will you turn your back like thousands before you, who were trusted?

      It is good that this discussion has come up, because it shows that we the youth are aware of the ills of our society, weaknesses in government and the sacrifices parents make to send their children to university. Yet, persons graduate and turn their backs.

      There are retired parents paying three quarters of their social security to the bank for student loans just so that they will not lose their life’s hard work and not be sent to home for the homeless.
      My dear, THIS is the reality.

      What about the children who come after? Those who do not pay back their loans cold heartedly leave their siblings to suffer. Sometimes, it’s not even their siblings, but the CHILDREN OF A FRIEND who saw the potential in them and willingly and trustingly signed loans on their behalf. The friend struggles to pay the loan, and in turn the bank is unable to significantly reduce the fees because the funds going out are not coming back in. The ones with the burdens are suffering because of it; paying what they can and how they can especially in these hard times. A lot of parents remain quiet because they are ASHAMED.

      NOT EVERYONE is able to attend university at 19, 20 or 21. Some of us HAVE TO WAIT until 25, 30, 28 or even 40.

      DO NOT look at people with degrees and believe that the road was easy. They had just the same number of difficulties and same challenges of any poor Dominican. And do not envy or grudge people who are overseas and come home shining, you do no know what they are going through. DO NOT envy or grudge your friends because they seem to be prospering, you do not know what they do. DO NOT get angry at yourself because you are poor and feel frustrated at times. The majority of us Dominicans come from very very humble beginnings – 1 pair of shoes, no tv, no car, walking to and from school for miles before buses and 4 cars to every home.

      So PLEASE, instead of becoming angry try to see things from this angle. The long term result of HUMILITY, SACRIFICE, SETTING GOALS, PRIORITIES and FAITH IN GOD that HE will open a door IN DUE TIME is DIGNITY, RESPECT FROM THE PUBLIC, TIMELY SUCCESS and a GOOD REPUTATION. Being able to walk down the streets with YOUR HEAD HELD HIGH.

      • Dubiqois
        April 29, 2010

        This is brilliantly stated.

  6. Finally
    April 28, 2010

    Before I commented I took the time to re-read the article to which Tom is responding. Firstly I think that the consideration that Tom gave to the loan amounts and his ability to repay is commendable.

    HOWEVER, the AID Bank article was geared at people who do not pay, or come in to discuss the loan situation. I am sure we would all agree that if you sign and accept the money at the interest rate stipulated that you shoudl repay. You cannot make noise if you did not take the time off to contemplate on repayment. so Tom I think your article whilst is may hold a little weight is in NO way a suitable rebuttal to the AID Banks article.

    The idea of using the acronym AID and saying it mean aid is ridiculous. I however think the name of teh bank should be changed to Dominica Development Bank. Please note that in this time of recession even the US have started to go back to Development Banking principles.

    The idea of reducing the interest rates is a whole different story. To sum it up, monies for Development purposes attract higher interest rates at the CDB, EIB, ECCB etc. So AID bank is not entirely to blame.

    • a ma gra sa
      April 28, 2010

      hey r u a share holder of AID bank

    • rushand
      April 28, 2010


  7. Dubiqois
    April 28, 2010


    You have reasonably stated that which is not so obvious to many. Well put. If everyone lives by this credence, there would not be so many people in dire straits. Living the good life without a financial cushion is sure to lead to headaches. By nature, human beings are impulsive creatures – and therein lies the problem. Everyone wants the biggest house, fastest car, most expensive shoes; and that is fine if you can afford it. However, if one decides to live beyond his/her means, and one day he/she reaches into his/her pocket and there is no penny to jingle, then he/she has to be willing to absorb the blow.

    Also, there are banks who engage in predatory lending. If that is the case, they should also be held accountable.

  8. Homeboy
    April 28, 2010

    This person who wrote this letter is a genius!! I am not sure if it is true but if not it provides a beautiful anecdote to the letter that aid bank wrote about people going and study and then becoming delinquent. I am certain that most of the people who have be o e delinquent are the children of people who have money. You all talking about embarrassing those who do not pay, but I think that the bank needs to look at the lending policy and see where it has failed.

    For Dominica students when they give you those loans, go abroad and work 10 times as hard to secure a scholarship and so you will not use the money they have allocated to you.

      May 2, 2010

      i beg to defer your intimation that most of the culprits have not paid back the loans are from people whose parents are afluent and have some funds, as I personally know of people or have been told of people who I actually know and they are no where in the bracket of children of people who have money.

      Infact a number of them have good paying jobs in the states after they graduated, (that is those who kept their eyes on the prize), and their companies also in many cases filed for their green cards for them to benefit from their skills.

      Anyway, the issue really isn’t about who is a child of a wealthy person or a person who is not as wealthy in this regard and Dominicans need to stop digressing from subjects and address them head on by discussing what is relevant.

      Whether the students who have defaulted miserably on their loans that they were granted from financial institutions on the island were from weathy or non-weatlhy families has abosolutely nothing to do with this matter.

      Everyone is has defaulted on their loans and not avoiding making contact to arrange some form of payment, regardless of their family background or connections should be “exposed and named and shamed” in the same manner with no exceptions. Simple as that!

  9. Pollitrickslicking
    April 28, 2010

    Who should you blame? Yourself, the bank or the university ?

    You’ve made it quite clear that in spite of the financial crisis and poverty, people are not taking ‘loans’ but ‘mortgages’ to go to school despite there being more and more affordable opportunities available online, distance, online/on site.

    In any case, if you got the money, were happy to go off to school and return with a degree, then pay back the institution that made it possible for you. At the end of the day, you can’t have your cake and eat it and you are not justified for not repaying or at least contacting the bank to refinance if you are having difficulties. You were happy for the money weren’t you, despite all the interest and collateral requirements.

    And quite frankly, if my dad were a farmer and he were in that situation, before going to university, I would work for at least 3 to 4 years, do my best to save at least $700 monthly, not get any woman pregnant or get my self pregnant if a girl, stick to the bus system and refrain from getting myself a car no matter how badly I want one and I would know that I could not be out every weekend or spend 250$ on a pair of shoes, a bag or weave. These are some of the sacrifices I would make.

    With 700 monthly, I would have saved 33,600 plus interest and would have had more than enough of share coverage to obtain a loan from the bank or the Credit union, and would not have my father put up so much of his land. I would also be able to make my monthly payments without putting my parents under additional duress.

    I was young, positive, ready to make sacrifices, pursue my dreams and that’s what I did. Currently I hold a first class honors degree, am in a stable job, I do not earn a lot of money but do not default my loan payments, I still do not own a car (though I would loooove to own one) because I still have priorities and sacrifices to make, such as my online masters degree and acquiring a piece of property.

    • BB
      April 28, 2010

      Nice comment! When there is a goal in mind (here–being an accountant) you must do what is within reason to accomplish that goal. If it means that you will not travel abroad, then so be it. Stay home, work and go to school. Technology has brought many advantages. Be a part-time student online, work and save and maybe during your junior and senior years you can afford to go abroad.

      There are options available besides loans from AID Bank or any other financial institution. NO ONE IS OBLIGATED TO YOU BUT YOU!!

    • Say What
      April 28, 2010

      Neither of you got the point. Brilliant as the aspiring accountant is, he broke down the cost of getting a degree. The point he is trying to bring across is that its outrageous the amount and terms of a student education learn. The AID (Always Incurring Debt) bank obviously not AIDING STUDENTS (people with NO INCOME!!!!!!!!) In case you didn’t know it also costs money to do distance learning, a loan he might still have to rely on these … for too! It seems like just to get a decent education you LITERALLY have to sell your soul to the devil (the AID Bank one that is). And yes everyone has dreams and you have to plan accordingly (just the point he was trying to PROVE ) but it doesn’t always pan out especially when you are depending on the institution established by the government to do what AID people!

      • April 29, 2010

        Education has long been a private enterprise although like health and water should be a basic human need.

        At times we must learn to strike a balance when we discuss issues. Because we can lash out at the bank for its fees but cannot justify persons not owning up to their responsibilities. Either way, someone suffers – the bank, the new applicant, especailly the cosignee of the loan.

        We must stop that tongue lashing culture we are devloping and help reinstill good moral of patience and sacrifice in our young people. Everything cannot be a maypwi. Nothing gets solved and things only get complicated simply because of our approach at dealing with things.

        Do you see any major difference between a student loan and a poor working family (without degree) working hard to make mortgage payments of that amount or even more? Is the issue more complex than it appears?

  10. Dubiqois
    April 28, 2010

    You should not hang your hat where your hand can’t reach it.

    With that said, who is responsible for adjusting the key interest rate in Dominica (ECCB??) is where you should begin. Interest rates are lowered or raised to boost the economy (hmmm). Basic supply and demand for available money.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the resources and conditions affecting student loans may not be conducive to potential students. Perhaps your email will spark debates in deeper circles. If you have the fortitude to continue, pursue interest rate regulations through the proper channel. I doubt anything will come of it, because it is a market economy.

    It is wise to not borrow against your future earnings potential, because there are many variables that will infringe on your ability to honor the terms of your loan. It is like taking a gamble. Your safety nets can disappear suddenly – leaving you vulnerable. It is a double edged sword: you either take the risk or not take it.

    I am glad that you did the assessment, and decided against the loan. Unfortunately, many people do not have the capacity to do this, and they are left vulnerable to abuse by banks – predatory lending.

    If many people think like you, they would not be in the financial quagmire that they are in.

    Keep in mind that banks are not social institutions. They are in the business of making money. The consumer/client has the choice to either accept or not accept. What seems unreasonable to you, may not be financial malfeasance.

  11. lovely dominica
    April 28, 2010

    Oh by the way, AID Bank has been in operations for the past 30 years and a few years ago almost suffered the fate of DOMLEC

  12. lovely dominica
    April 28, 2010

    My God. The AID Bank did not force anybody into taking loans. The AID Bank is one of the many financial institutions in the country. What are the terms at the other institutions? Can anybody tell me? The record seems to show that AID Bank had contributed significantly to the educational needs of many Dominicans. Why then if you enter into a contract with the Bank, enjoy the money and not want to payback.

    People have to understand that nothing comes free. Choices can be made and have to be made, eg. whether one takes a big loan for study at an expensive school in the USA or do an online course, (in that case one stays at home, cost is reduced, family is not affected), or to allow your sibblings to finish high school since your parents are not financially stable, or secure a scholarship to China, Venuezela, Russia, Cuba – again here cost can be minimal.

    All the bashing of the Bank is unnecessary and those well educated adults should take their responsibilities seriously.

    Tell me what you would say when a friend , a father, a mother, a granny, a god-father, a brother, a sister, use thier only property to secure a loan for you to become more educated and at the end of the day you turn your back and allow the Bank sell that property. CHUBBY AND MIDNITE GROOVERS CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION – E SAY YON KOCHON

    • Dubiqois
      April 28, 2010

      I may be wrong, but I think it was Grammacks who said. Pawol en bouche c’est pas maitre.

    • rushand
      April 28, 2010


    • Twocents
      April 28, 2010

      Very thought provoking article Tom; and kudos to you for doing the number crunch before actually deciding to go ahead with this loan. Oh how we wish we could all go and study abroad…there is nothing like the classroom education, is there? Tom my advise to you if you really want to study: you have 3 options. 1. Word your butt out and hope you get that scholarship. 2. Get a job, two if possible, work for about 4 years and make saving your number one priority…forgo many of the pleasures currently being enjoyed by the delinquents and keep your eyes on the prize. 3. Get a job here, live as comfortably as your salary will afford, while getting either an online education like me and the others or go to UWI school of continuing studies like Paula and the others.

      What ever you decide to do in the end, may you achieve your goal. All the best in your future endeavors.

  13. Dr. Finger
    April 28, 2010

    LOL. You got them this time. For the hell of me I cant understand why the banks … squeezing the blood out of students parents just to give their kids a decent education. Well, I will be the first to say “PAR PAYAY YOE” -don’t pay them- until they reformat these loans. Everyone wants a better education but it should not cost an arm, leg, belly and head. The banks should stop focusing on making money off student loans and concentrate on other instruments such as vehicle and non essentials (luxury). Housing and education loans should be NO more than 5%. Further, the process should be reversed where students parents pay on the capital and a 2% interest while the kids are in college.

    No wonder when the students graduate they refuse to come home because the salary they earn cannot even pay the loans and put food on their table for the next 10 years. The bank should be ashamed of such practices. When we talk about putting a graduate in every home by 2020 that should be part of the plan. Another thing that can work to ease the strain is government putting a small percentage of our GDP aside to finance student loans. Remember the word “STUDENTS”? Yes thats what they are until graduation.

    Only then will I encourage people to pay back. The bank must also remember that having a job does not translate to an ability to pay back under such draconian conditions.

  14. The Day Has Come
    April 28, 2010

    Well brother, you are right on target…. I was in the same boat, just that, it was only me in that boat with no parents or anyone to help fund my loan. I went through government, but as usual, I always seem to get disappointed. I had no choice but to work and try to make it through in life, hoping one day, I will get to achieve my goals to help my self continue my studies. I have learned the hard way as an independent young lady. I believe with your perseverance, you will very soon get help to further your studies and your parents won’t have to suffer to get you there.. All the best. Another thing, I believe the private sector businesses and elite residing in Dominica should venture into a scholarship program to help families who are incapable of meeting the financial needs to send their children to study. Whether it is by offering grants, helping with loan payments or offering full scholarship, I believe that would be a great help. Please take that in consideration to whom it may concern.

  15. Sexitrii
    April 28, 2010

    Tom…………maybe you should opt for an ONLINE course………..Education is expensive and true, some of us are ambitious and eager to learn BUT can’t really afford……… maybe in the meantime you can get a job , register for an online course, and see where that option takes you. GOOD LUCK MAN and ALL THE BEST.

  16. Graduated
    April 28, 2010

    Tom, am all the way with you! those thiefing … people at AID Bank just sqeezing poor people children, they telling you to come for loan to study, you excited but when you go you have to undress yourself for them to give you the little loan, I myself did not even take all the money and they still want me to pay all the interest and principal on the initial amount, imagine i did not use a full year’s amount because i had some of my credits tranfered from a previous institution; but i paying it, i paying it for six years now and up till now they cannot give me a printed account of my payments and actual balance, but i dont want to be one of those delinquents so with god’s grace i paying it; but i not advising any body to go AID bank if they can do better, go credit union, cuba, venezuela, mexico, anywhere they can go without going aid bank but doh go there … i sure they persons who not paying are people who did not come back and why they not siezing their properties is because those properties are useless properties, i mean, in places where people will not want to buy especially since bananas not profitable anymore so persons doh worry about buying farm lands anymore.

  17. Well Said
    April 28, 2010

    I agree with this young man. I took one of those loans because I could not get a scholarship. I am finished studying and have 2 years left on my 10 year loan. It has been very difficult. Because of the large repayments and long terms. The salaries in Dominica are not so great and in the beginning I was paying 1500.00 on an 1800.00 salary.

    Now the salary has increased a bit, but it still hinders you, you cannot build a house or make any worthwhile investment. It is like your life is on hold until you finish pay that loan.

    I thorougly enjoyed my University experience, it was truly great. But if I knew then what i know now…..

  18. lovetins
    April 28, 2010

    Tom if I only knew you brother I would shake your hand I feel your pain for I too am in that same situation even when my loan was extended from 10 years years to 12 which the loans officer advised me would be better my payments were reduced from $950 to $850. I was like same difference so I might as well just stick to the 10 years. So when I return home this May I expect to be broke for the next`10 years I done make up my mind to tie my waist. I just feel sorry for my mom cause she has already paid almost $17000 in interest alone. The hard thing is after all that employees still want to umderpay you not realising that a students loan is such a big commitment .

  19. Empathetic
    April 28, 2010


    I empathize with your situation. But perhaps you should ask more questions. Thank God for my parents and the AID Bank. The option to pay my loan while I was studying was exercised and my older brother was offered a job overseas and is regularly servicing his loan now – my parents would not have it any other way. Correct me if I am wrong. I do not think the Bank is saying that you must come back home to work. I think that they are saying once you have a job you should pay back your loan and if you encounter any difficulties, you could call to work things out.

  20. Anonymous
    April 28, 2010

    Those of you focusing on telling people to pay the loan (which I agree with) are missing the real point – interest adds up to basically 100% at a DEVELOPMENT bank!

    100%!!!!!! Paying EC$1500 a month for 10 years. Not 2 years. Not 3 years. 10 years. How many of you in Dominica can manage that? We must be prepared for the possibility that Fidel/Chavez/Mexico/China will stop scholarships as they need to concentrate on their own problems and we must be in a position to educate our own. Further we must stop accepting being beggars as a legitimate way of life. Don’t change the banks policies, dont try to source cheaper money, dont do anything to make us more self sufficient and independent in educating our own people in tertiary education because we will just beg for scholarships from foreign countries.

    This country is in crisis thanks partly to the extortionist policies of our banks and our own resistance to standing on our own feet and government remains either oblivious of, or uncaring about, the consequences of such policies/attitudes on our private sector, human resource base and basically the future of our children and this country’s economic and social health.

    • rushand
      April 28, 2010


  21. Waiting For The Next Level
    April 28, 2010

    I am in such agreement with Tom..adding to that is the sad reality we faced when we returned to Dominica to honor our loans. Those who are saying pay back the loan perhaps when you returned you still had the former employer holding your positions for you or a relative willing to carry on the payments for you until you find a suitable paying job. But when after six to seven months and all the jobs that are available pays a lot less than your payback loan fee cost what are you supposed to do. You don’t want your parents and others to be deprived and even when you have had a part scholarship that does not guarantee a well paid job here. First and foremost some of the employers turn down applications because they are not willing to pay suitable salaries and they instead employ those persons who are not qualified just to pay them less. I am saying this because I experienced that. I was told that what I would be paid can pay three persons if the work is divided up. And that place as I learned have a huge staff turnover because staff are not well regarded there. I think in all intent and purpose all persons who have received student loans from where ever hope to be able to honor their commitment to pay back…but when we have such negative feed back from some organizations our debts pile up faster than our time of study. It is frustrating.

    Some persons are fortunate to be taken on by foreign employers in the countries where they went to study and that helps them honor their loans. All in all the financial institutions here should do much better at assisting persons who wish to pursue higher education. They are crying that our professionals stay out there and not come home..what are we coming to and for? The interest rates and the securities that the AID bank is offering is enough to depress a prospective student. Just imagine if you don’t have someone to support your application. The bank should have a support system in place for those who have returned and unable to find work within the specified time and even lower the initial payments to accommodate whatever salary some of the persons might receive upon return. Cause it’s true that at the rate of pay teachers get which is what most of us get to do anyway one can barely meet the bus fare costs.

    The bank need to meet those persons on a one to one basis ( the person should be one who have studied abroad, survived the payments and how they managed…whilst most of us have degrees and so on doesn’t mean that we know how to manage our finances effectively) and agree to lower payments that can help ease the burden, cause I don’t think any of those bright young graduates especially want to not pay their loans. It’s like a death trap. And it is unprofessional on the part of the bank to publicize the names of those persons. I agree that there might be persons who have gotten well paying employment and neglect the payments but what about the rest? So if there is a desk set up at the bank to address those concerns then the bank should be to eliminate the good from the bad payers.

    When I was in a foreign country studying..I paid out of pocket..I took a brave step and asked my bank there if I could have a student loan…All they needed was my passport, the name of the school, the length of study, and my current address. They didn’t ask for a deposit or co-signee. They assisted me in finding a position that would help me pay back and guess what the payments were so low as much as 60 of that country currrency and I wasn’t pressured into paying high interest rates everything was done for me as a foreigner in order that I get to achieve my undergrad degree and they call you and ask you if you need anything or more money. They ensure that you are able to eat a well-balanced meal, have sufficient going out funds so that you can participate in field trips and so on, and also ask about your progress on your programme if you are enjoying it or do you want to change. A BANK …not the school but the bank did that for me as a foreigner. And guess what I did well got to stay on the job for one more year with higher that enabled me to pay off the loan in the nik of time before coming back to Dominica. AID this is what we mean when we ask for support.

  22. Reasoning
    April 28, 2010

    $120,000 is a huge loan to take to become an accountant. That is almost a mortgage so you can expect those high repayments. Take some online courses, go to UWIDEC then if you really want to go to a campus, go for your final year.

    You should only take such a huge loan if you are reasonably sure of being able to repay.
    If you took a bank loan, pay it back. All those documents and security they are asking us to submit is the direct result of so many students defaulting on their loan.

    • YoungLady
      April 28, 2010

      i totally agree. the UWI Open Campus program is great and very affordable… we need to look at our local and regional options first

  23. Chavez Jr.
    April 28, 2010

    Boss man I understand exactly that u are trying to get a university education. But bro there are other altertnative out there that can provide u with a university education. some times we believe that the capitalist system is the best and there is no other, but the socialist system offers equal opportunities as well at little cost. Am at a top university in Venezuela and I didnt have to think of such lump sum to sturdy. However its ur choice my brother. I wish u all the best.

    • University graduate
      April 28, 2010

      I agree with you friend, I studied in Cuba and nonsense when people saying that the socialist scholarships will end, now we going to get more!

  24. DA
    April 28, 2010

    I am presently a victim of AID bank, and this letter just hit home. Thank God I have finished my studies, but my God I would discourage anyone 100%, please think twice before going through AID bank …….Try the RCCU, they offer a much resonable package that are encouraging and more affordable to students.

  25. Power to the People
    April 28, 2010

    Tom if you take the loan, pay back the people. That’s the contract. Or leave AID Bank money alone. You cannot be wrong and strong.

    • April 28, 2010

      true dat. how come is now u find to print your lengthy rebuttal? stupes.

  26. True Dominican
    April 28, 2010

    Well said, beeen there. Aid bank, your interest payments are to high.

  27. Not Diliquent
    April 28, 2010

    I am so happy this letter is printed here. It’s about time that the AID Bank’s true nature gets exposed. I am not sure if they need to be educated on the meaning of development.

  28. Lady
    April 28, 2010

    I once went to the AID bank enquiring about taking out a student loan. At the end of my visit I realized that if i qualified for a loan at that institution i would not be needing the loan anyways since i would have been in a position to just pay my way through myself!

    That being said if after having all the information you go ahead and borrow the money anyway then for crying out loud pay it back!

  29. University graduate
    April 28, 2010

    Young man I agree with what you are saying but first of all try to see if it is possible for you to get a scholarship or some form of assistance from the government. I am a graduate from a Cuban university and from my experience that is the best thing to do. With a government scholarship or part scholarship that will allow you to go for a much lower loan. On the other hand, AID Bank … the interest rates are too high. I am one of their debtors and my student loan is at 10%, I borrowed less than a quarter of the amount that you are requesting and to date my total interest paid to that bank is in excess of $20,000. Aid Bank has to look at ways of lowering the interest rate, even if they need the government intervention, they have to do something. The high interest rate is what is causing the problem, the world is getting harder and harder.

  30. been there
    April 28, 2010

    This letter does not excuse those ppl who are not paying off the loans, but i can say that i have been there, and yes after you crunch the numbers you are faced with the options that Tom was faced with. I worked hard on the scholarship option and if that did not work out i was going for the stay here, work, buy my house and land option.

    People please pay your loans, anyone taking a loan need to do the calculations before they take any loan, if you figure you might have serious problems paying up, then really you cannot afford it.

  31. Paula
    April 28, 2010


    I understand your situation. Have you tried the Credit Unions. I am a working student who received a university education right in Dominica with the University of the West Indies and now pursuing a Master’s Programme.I took my loans at the Roseau Cooperative Credit Union. The repayments at the Roseau Credit Union are affordable and the professionals there work with you. This method of study has allowed me to continue my employment and to remain home with my family. Whilst alot of us would like to go and experience University/campus life, i think if you are in such a situation you should try exploring that avenue. I wish you all the best.

    • Kai
      April 28, 2010

      Paula not all of us have the luxury of having of fields of study available to us through UWI. You’re lucky you have a good paying job (I know you), but you are in the 10% bracket that actually get those jobs.

  32. CHARM
    April 28, 2010

    OMG…This is so well put together. Thought for potential student loaners.

  33. c.a.w
    April 28, 2010

    Ah boy. You hit it right on the head. no wonder people not paying back $1700 as a high school teacher. no money left to eat much less move out of your parents home.

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