CHARLESTOWN, Nevis - PREMIER Mark Brantley has confirmed the exit of CIBC First Caribbean Bank from the island with effect from the end of November 2020.
Word started circulating in recent weeks that the bank was closing its Nevis operations, but no official correspondence was received by the media or any announcement was forthcoming from the financial institution.
However, Brantley, while addressing reporters at his press conference last Thursday (Aug. 27), announced that he was informed that the institution would close its doors on November 30.
“The First Caribbean International Bank has decided to close its Nevis Branch effective November 30th. Now I should say and go on record as saying that there was no consultation or discussion with the NIA, nor do we have control over whether a bank or any other business decides to close,” the Premier explained.
CIBC operations in several member states in the region have been sold, pending the necessary regulatory approvals from the various Central Banks to which the branches were affiliated.
According to media reports, the Gelinski Group had purchased the Caribbean operations for over US$700M.
But concerns were expressed over the lack of proper information being provided by the bank in the reasoning behind the closures.
SKNVibes has learnt that one of the bank's branches in St. Lucia is expected to be closed shortly and no public disclosure was made on the reason for the closure.
When asked if he were concerned over the manner in which the closure was made and that it might create a precedence for other financial institutions, Premier Brantley noted that there are always concerns, but it is up to the banks to determine the way forward.
“It is an opportunity for consultation, because consultation allows us to look and see where the difficulties are and then perhaps allows us an opportunity to see what the government can do. That is why I have great admiration for the Four Seasons, because at every step they tried to consult,” Brantley stressed.
According to Brantley, the Nevis branch had employed nine individuals, both contract and those permanent. Of that number, one person would be transferred to work in the St. Kitts operation.
“Lucky for Nevis, we have other banks operating, and so customers will have other options,” the Premier added.