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Offshore banks threatened by rising seas

CAYMAN ISLANDS – Rising ocean levels are beginning to submerge offshore banks, putting at risk much of the money being tucked away there.

“We really should have considered putting these billions of dollars closer to land,” said Joaquin Phillipe, manager of the Dodge Parry Trust not far from the coast of Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

While there are still numerous banks on solid land for customers to squirrel away cash to avoid taxes, those that are located in the cay are finding their situation increasingly tenuous.

“People don’t want to deposit their money in a place where it’s going to get soggy,” said Sandra Appleton, former manager of the Maldives Engulfed Holdings bank. That bank closed because the sandbar it was on had eroded, taking billions in assets with it. “And you can’t bank where there’s no bank.”

Global ocean levels have risen over 7 inches (195mm) since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, and they continue to rise for reasons that people continue to dispute.

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