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[Media Release - FSC] Financial Regulator’s response to Covid-19

20 March 2020

The Financial Supervisory Commission is an independent government agency that supervises

businesses across the financial industry, including the Banks.

The Commission is accountable to the DPM Honourable Mark Brown, as Minister of Finance, for the

performance of its functions.

The Financial Supervisor’s primary role is to maintain the safety and soundness of Financial

Institutions so that the Cook Islands community can have confidence that the Banks will meet their

financial obligations.

In this regard, FSC Commissioner, Louise Wittwer stated:

While the Cook Islands, and rest of the world, deal with the unprecedented global pandemic Covid-

19, the Financial Supervisory Commission has the utmost confidence that the Cook Islands financial

system is in a sound position, with strong capital and liquidity, to get through this

crisis. Unprecedented Times are upon us, but that does not mean we have not planned for

Unprecedented Times. It is standard procedure for the FSC to scenario test the outcome of tourism

stopping overnight, as occurred in Samoa in 2009 following the tsunami. And likewise, we regularly

monitor the Bank’s Business Continuity Plan’s to ensure that the Cook Islands people would continue

to have access to their banking services should Te Ara Maire Nui Drive be wiped out by a natural


The Commission is working in tandem with our licensed Banks to ensure that they meet the

commitment they have made to the Cook Islands Government in respect to the Covid-19 Economic

Response Package, released by my Minister, on Wednesday evening. I most certainly appreciate that

the Bank’s need time to put in place the appropriate mechanisms to properly provide these services

to their customers. In this regard, the Commission seeks the public’s patience please.

I understand that there is a lot of unease and angst in the community at this challenging time, but I

wish to make it very clear to the Cook Islands people that we are here to ensure that the Bank’s

honour the commitment they have made to the Crown in respect to our Covid-19 Economic Response

Package. To that end, the Commission is providing an avenue for Cook Islanders to raise any

concerns, issues or complaints they may have in respect to the response received from their bank, in

Cook Islands Maori or English, to these contacts:

For ANZ Bank

Phone: 20798

For BCI Bank

Phone: 29184

For BSP Bank

Phone: 29182


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