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Royal Bank of Canada announces sale of Eastern Caribbean banking operations

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Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2019. 9:28 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: For the second time this year, a Canadian bank operating in the Eastern Caribbean has agreed to sell its local operations to banks within the region, subject to regulatory approval which will be finalized in a few months. However, no financial details have been provided. 

The head of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Caribbean Banking, Rob Johnston, said they agreed to sell to a consortium of regional banks in the interest of securing long term financial and community success. 

“RBC has operated in the Caribbean for more than 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,” said Johnston. “This transaction will allow us to realign and focus our strategy on Caribbean markets where we can achieve that vision most successfully.” 

He added, “Self-determination is the highest level of empowerment – and the indigenous banks acquiring this business will now have an increased opportunity to influence the development of their communities.” 

The RBC’s Eastern branches 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 will be sold. The five financial entities buying include 1st National Bank of St. Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., National Bank of Dominica Ltd., the Bank of Montserrat, and Bank of Nevis Ltd. 

Johnathan Johannes, Managing Director, 1st National Bank of St. Lucia, shared, “We formed the consortium for the express purpose of expanding the scale of the locally-owned financial entities in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. This transaction gives us the size and scale to play a more active role in the development of our respective countries. We see this transaction as the first step in achieving even greater synergies, efficiencies and cross-territory marketing opportunities…And speaking on behalf of the local banks, we embrace and eagerly anticipate that opportunity.” 

The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) sold its Eastern Caribbean operations in October to the Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. However, it has consistently denied considering dropping its operations in Belize. 

RBC also previously operated in Belize, managing what is now The Belize Bank, Limited.

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