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In February 2006, the National Insurance Board (NIB) began the initiative to have all long-term benefit and assistance payments deposited directly into pensioners’ bank accounts. Apart from the efficiency gained as a result of the direct deposit, NIB considered the initiative to be a significant step forward in ensuring that the actual process of paying pensions and assistance payments was more humane and individualized, as well as confidential.
Since February 2006, NIB has had relatively good success with its push for direct deposits; however, there remain several hundred pensioners who still collect payments from pay stations for various reasons. To increase the conversion rate to 100%, i.e., to ensure that all payments are direct deposited, NIB earlier this year solicited the assistance of the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB), who quickly came on board with a process for opening bank accounts at our New Providence Local Offices, to facilitate the smooth deposit of NIB payments. Since February of this year, more than 100 pensioners have taken advantage of BOB’s in-house presence at NIB pay stations in New Providence to open the required bank accounts.
With the measure of success with direct deposits, NIB made the decision that April 2010 would be the last month in which pensioners in New Providence would be able to collect cheques in person. In March and April during pension payment times, the affected pensioners were notified in writing and by word of mouth of this decision. Going forward, pension payments to individuals in New Providence will be made through direct bank deposits only, and over the next few months, the same strategy will apply in all islands where this option is convenient to pensioners, and where NIB does not make cash payments due to the absence of a Financial Institution and/or Post Office.
It is acknowledged that this firm change in our policy may create a problem for some who may still be without bank accounts; therefore, on Tuesday, May 25, Bank of The Bahamas will again have officers at NIB’s Jumbey Village Local Office to facilitate the opening of accounts. Cheques will only be issued to persons bringing in their bank account information, opening bank accounts with BOB on that day, or in cases where it can be confirmed that opening a bank account is not possible.
NIB recognizes that the Bank of The Bahamas may not be the preferred bank of all of its pensioners. In this regard, while the convenient option for bank account opening will exist at our Head Office on the specified date(s), claimants are free to choose any other bank, including the Post Office Bank with convenient locations throughout the island, and to bring in the account details to facilitate the May payment via cheque and all future payments via direct deposit.
To open an account with BOB, bring along a copy of your passport or birth certificate, and your National Insurance card. If you do not have a passport or birth certificate, Bank officials will use your National Insurance seniors/pensioners card as identification.