CIBC FirstCaribbean acquisition on the cards

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank could soon be acquired by Colombia-based Gilinski Group, according to a report by Barbados-based media company, Barbados Today.

The report explains that more information on the acquisition will be made available next week.

Governor of The Central Bank of The Bahamas John Rolle told reporters yesterday that he could not comment on the validity of the claims. Neither the Gilinski Group or CIBC had issued an official statement up to press time.

In a comment made to Barbados Today, CIBC stated: “CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited is a strong, well-performing business that continues to grow across the region. As a publicly-traded company in the Caribbean, there has always been investor interest in our bank.

“Our focus is on enhancing our long-term growth prospects while creating value for our clients, shareholders and other stakeholders. If and when decisions are made about our business, we’ll advise our stakeholders as appropriate.”

Last year Guardian Business reported that Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) reneged on its decision to list its Caribbean operations – valued at $2 billion – on the U.S. stock market due to market conditions.

A Reuters article published in December 2017 explained CIBC’s proposed move was a result of earnings growth in the Caribbean being slow and the bank no longer considering the Caribbean a core asset.

CIBC, via its subsidiary CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) Limited, is one of three big Canadian commercial banks operating in The Bahamas. Over the past two years, those commercial banks have been scaling back their businesses to compete in the difficult Bahamian economy.

Bad loans and high operating costs have caused the banks to close branches and decrease their workforce over the years. The financial crisis of 2008 was a catalyst for the extreme rightsizing actions of Canadian banks in the region.

The Reuters article added: “Tough economic conditions in Barbados are hampering FirstCaribbean’s potential for growth while executives are mindful of perceived regulatory risks associated with the region.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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