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Posted: Thursday 6 April, 2023 at 8:57 PM

No go for CIBC sale to National Bank

By: Jermine Abel,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AFTER not meeting all of the stipulated conditions of sale, the St. Kitts-Nevis Anguilla National Bank has failed in its quest to acquire the assets of CIBC First Caribbean International Bank Limited in St. Kitts and Nevis.


    In a media statement issued late this afternoon (Apr. 6),  FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited announced that the sale of its assets of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Limited in St. Kitts to St. Kitts Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Limited (SKNANB) will not go ahead.


    In October 2021, under certain conditions, the Central Bank had approved the sale of CIBC FirstCaribbean assets in several territories across the Eastern Caribbean, including St. Kitts-Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


    “The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (‘ECCB’) provided conditional approval for the sale of the assets and banking business of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Limited (‘FCIB Barbados’) in St. Kitts to the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Limited (‘SKNANB’) on July 15, 2022, subject to certain conditions.


    “SKNANB recently informed FCIB Barbados that it has not secured final approval from the ECCB to conclude the acquisition. The ECCB subsequently notified FCIB Barbados of its decision to not grant final approval for the sale of its operations in St. Kitts,” the statement read.
    The sale of CIBC was initiated during the mass exodus of international banks from the Caribbean due to the implementation of regulations and derisking measures that stiffer penalties should those laws be broken, such as fines for money laundering.


    The statement also read: “Notwithstanding the denial of approval outlined above, the ECCB remains fully engaged with FCIB Barbados as it continues to assess its operational footprint in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. This means that FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Limited will retain its presence in St. Kitts and has announced plans to transform the way it does business in St. Kitts.”


    Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean, Mark St. Hill, noted that while the ending of the sale process is disappointing for the Bank, CIBC FirstCaribbean would take advantage of that opportunity to refine its business in St. Kitts. 


    He added: “We are an agile organisation and it is our duty on behalf of our employees and clients to ensure that we deliver a steady ship that provides omni-channel access to banking services in St. Kitts. We are prepared to pivot and look towards growing our business in St. Kitts into the future.”


    Managing Director for the Bank in Barbados and the OECS countries, Donna Wellington, noted that the Bank would take the opportunity to transform its business in St. Kitts. 


    “Our priority is to signal to the market that we are staying and open for business. We have been conservative in the St. Kitts market over the past year-and-a-half as we prepared the business for sale. However, we will now concentrate our effort on building the business, reconnecting with both our Retail and Corporate clients in a big way and providing them with the best products and services CIBC FirstCaribbean has to offer,” Wellington said.


    She thanked both staff and clients for their commitment to the Bank, adding: “Our employees are a huge asset to the business, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for the grace and professionalism they have exhibited over the past several months. As for our clients, we have already spoken to some of them and they have assured us of their continuing support for us, so it is full steam ahead.”
    Wellington noted that the Bank plans to eventually transform its branch and network in Basseterre to be able to provide access to both in person and digital banking services to St. Kitts, with the installation of Smart ABMs, and other self-serve products that would allow customers to choose how and where they bank with CIBC FirstCaribbean.



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