RBC announces sale of Eastern Caribbean banking operations

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced in a statement yesterday that it has entered into agreements to sell all of its banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean to local banks on the representative islands.

Questions about the future of operations in The Bahamas put to RBC following the release of the statement were not answered up to press time yesterday.

RBC executives have time and again expressed that they remain committed to continuing banking services in The Bahamas, while more and more, Canadian banks are lessening their footprint in the Caribbean.

Canadian bank CIBC recently announced that it sold a majority stake in its Caribbean arm, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited, to GNB Financial Group Limited.

Both Scotiabank and RBC have shrunk their operations in The Bahamas over time.

Now, RBC has taken further steps to retreat from the Caribbean.

“Royal Bank of Canada announced it has entered into definitive agreements to sell all banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean to a consortium of indigenous banks within the region,” RBC’s statement revealed.

“The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized in the coming months.”

RBC’s head of Caribbean Banking Rob Johnston said in the statement that the consortium of banks approached RBC eager to acquire its business.

“After a review of our operations and strategy, we determined this opportunity was a good decision for the long-term future success of RBC Caribbean and also, that it aligned with our vision to help our clients thrive and communities prosper,” Johnston said.

The sale affects RBC business in Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis, “as well as regional businesses operating under RBC Royal Bank Holdings (EC) Limited in Nevis, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

According to RBC’s statement, the consortium of financial entities involved in the purchase include 1st National Bank St. Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., National Bank of Dominica Ltd., Bank of Montserrat and The Bank of Nevis Ltd.

Managing Director of 1st National Bank St. Lucia Johnathan Johannes said in the statement that the consortium was formed specifically to expand the scale of Caribbean-owned financial entities.

“This transaction gives us the size and scale to play a more active role in the development of our respective countries,” he said.

“We see this transaction as the first step in achieving even greater synergies, efficiencies and cross-territory marketing opportunities.”

Johnston added: “RBC has operated in the Caribbean for more 100 years – longer than we have been in many parts of Canada. We remain committed to the future of the Caribbean and to a vision of digital innovation that transcends traditional services.”

RBC’s statement explained that the financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed and that it will release its first quarter 2020 results near the end of February.

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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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