Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is not considering pulling out of The Bahamas as it has in the Eastern Caribbean, the bank’s Senior Manager of Corporate Communications Andrew McGrath told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that recent investments in digital upgrades to one of its New Providence branches offers proof of its long-term plans for this country.
“No, we’re not. In fact, we just opened a new digitally-enabled ‘branch of the future’ in Old Fort Bay on December 3,” said McGrath. He said RBC’s Managing Director LaSonya Missick stressed at that event that the bank is interested in long-term growth in The Bahamas.
“We are here today because RBC is confident in the sustainable and impactful long-term growth of The Bahamas,” said Missick at the event. “Our decision to reimagine our bank and invest heavily in our Bahamian infrastructure – digital and physical – is a sign of our commitment to the economic and financial growth of The Bahamas.”
McGrath added: “That statement is as true today as it was before the Eastern Caribbean announcement. We are proud of our 111 years in The Bahamas and we look forward to serving the Bahamian people for years to come.”
RBC announced in a statement on Thursday last week that it has entered into agreements to sell all of its banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean to local banks on the representative islands.
Canadian bank CIBC recently announced that it sold a majority stake in its Caribbean arm, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited, to Colombia’s 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’s 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.