SKN: RBC Completes Sale of EC Banking Operations

by Chester Robards

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has divested itself of its Eastern Caribbean banking operations, having gotten clearance by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to move ahead with the sale.

The sale of those operations in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines closed last Thursday.

“This sale has RBC selling its Eastern Caribbean banking operations to a consortium of regional banks comprised of 1st National Bank of St. Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank, Bank of Dominica, Bank of Montserrat, and The Bank of Nevis,” the RBC revealed in a statement last week.

RBC’s Head of Caribbean Banking Rob Johnston said in the statement that the sale of this portfolio of business will allow the company to streamline its investments and resources in other jurisdictions in the Caribbean.

“This transaction will allow RBC to align investments and resources into markets where our vision for being the Caribbean’s digitally-enabled relationship bank can be executed most successfully,” said Johnston.

“The sale of our Eastern Caribbean banking operations to indigenous banks is also a critical step forward in strengthening the domestic financial services sectors in each of the countries and territories involved. This will help create a stronger climate for further growth, development and prosperity.”

According to RBC, its regional presence now comprises 3,000 employees across 41 branches and offices in Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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 announced two years ago its interest in selling a majority stake in its Caribbean arm, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited, to GNB Financial Group Limited. However, that transaction was not approved by regulators.

Both Scotiabank and RBC have shrunk their operations in The Bahamas over time, especially their operations in the Family Islands.