Saint Lucia
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Bank, Media House Disclaim Online ‘Fake News’ Post

1st National Bank Baywalk Mall.
1st National Bank Baywalk Mall

A major local bank says it’s the victim of what it calls “an online Fake News Scam” aimed at discrediting its reputation and causing alarm among shareholders – and it also says it’s not alone.

According to 1st National Bank’s Managing Director Fletcher St Jean, “Persons unknown have been falsely using the name of a reputable local news agency to besmirch our good corporate character.” The MD told THE VOICE his bank and the local news agency “are both victims of the fake news scam in the form of an internet posting quoting the local news agency as issuing a statement that is injurious to both parties…”

He added that the suspect post “claims the bank is in crisis at a time when it isn’t.”
According to St Jean, “In the past two years, 1st National Bank has acquired the assets of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) here and RBTT Bank in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, which has drastically improved both our asset and customer base, so claims that we’re in a crisis are simply false and constitute fake news.”

THE VOICE has also been able to confirm that the post in question was never published by the agency named and that display of its name was a fabricated attempt to involve it in the fake news scam.

The Managing Director says this is “not the first time” the bank and the agency “have both had to deal with such posts…”

According to St. Jean, “Our bank has been victim of similar fake news scams before, each time purporting to come from a clearly-fictitious sender’s name.

“But this time they used the name of a well-respected local media house, and we have also been able to confirm the item was never published by it and isn’t in its archives or on its website.”

The Managing Director and the bank’s top management met with staff yesterday (Tuesday) “to inform them of the fake news scam and to allay their fears.”

He added, “We have contacted the agency concerned and given that both entities are involved, we’re talking…”

Meanwhile, the bank has also indicated that in light of the public denial by the media house, it is moving to refer the matter to the relevant state agencies responsible for investigation of fraud.

The full text of the joint statement is as follows:

“1st National Bank and St. Lucia Times are aware of a recent fake news scam targeting both organizations in an attempt to undermine their reputations among shareholders, clients, and the general public. We would like to clarify that the alleged news article attributed to our local media house is entirely fabricated, and its content is intended solely to tarnish the reputation of both agencies.

We want to assure our stakeholders and the public that the fake news in question was never published by our organizations. The contents of the shared post are misleading and aimed at besmirching the characters of 1st National Bank and St. Lucia Times.

While we are relieved that the attempt to spread this fake news has been unsuccessful, we strongly urge the public to exercise caution when encountering such questionable posts. It is important to verify the information with official websites or representatives of the respective agencies before believing and sharing any content.

Both 1st National Bank and St. Lucia Times Inc. prioritize transparency, accountability, and the delivery of accurate information. We remain committed to providing reliable services and trustworthy news to our valued stakeholders and readers. We encourage everyone to be vigilant and discerning consumers of information, ensuring that they rely on credible sources for news and updates.”