More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Letter: MFEM clarifies business loans

Wednesday 16 August 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: MFEM clarifies business loans

Dear Editor, In response to the letter from Covid Bank on August 3, 2023, I would like to inform your readers about the loans the Cook Island Government made during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At that time, many businesses were struggling to continue trading due to the losses they were facing from the border closure. They needed a life-raft, and fast. The Cook Islands Government provided this rescue with a range of supports, of which the Business Continuity Credit Facility (BCCF) is one.

The BCCF was established as a collaborative loan facility between the Government and the Bank of Cook Islands (BCI). The Government approved and financed the loan facility, and since then BCI has been administering the repayments of the loans. The role of banking was contracted to BCI, a bank.

Also read: Government owed $255k in late loan repayments

At the time, the Government lent $6.9 million to 151 borrowers, all Cook Islands companies. It was our intention to provide a low-cost, low-stress source of finance at a very stressful time for our businesses. Our businesses are now beginning to recover, so we expect to see improved ability to repay those loans.  We have not seen these businesses fail; our life-raft worked.

As at 30 June 2023, the status of the $6.9 million lent out under the BCCF is as follows:

  • Total repayments (in principal and interest) by 30 June 2023 was $821,507
  • There are 123 loans still being paid off by borrowers. Those loans have a balance of $4,369,556
  • Of the 123 loans, 47 loans (38%) are behind in their payments. 27 companies are behind in their payments by more than 181 days.
  • The total amount of late payments due is $255,201. 

BCI reports to MFEM quarterly on the repayments they have received and which loan payments are late. BCI also manages collections of debts. If readers wish to find more information, there will be a release on the MFEM website soon.


Garth Henderson

Financial Secretary