GOVERNOR at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine has confirmed that approval was granted for the sale of the Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) operations in several territories in the Eastern Caribbean.
At a media conference following the 98th Meeting of the Monetary Council, Antoine disclosed that the process is now moving to acquisition and a statement would be made in due course.
“The ECCB has approved the application for the sale of the RBC operations in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union to a consortium of indigenous or national banks. That process is now moving forward and an announcement will be made in due course.”
It was back in December 2019 that the executives of the financial institution, headquartered in Toronto, announced that it entered into definitive agreements to sell all banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean to a consortium of indigenous banks within the region.
In a media statement, Rob Johnston, Head of the RBC Caribbean Banking, explained: “Consistent with our strategy of being a competitive leader in the markets where we operate, RBC is always evaluating opportunities for our business. Earlier this year, we were approached by a consortium of indigenous banks with their proposal to acquire all RBC Eastern Caribbean operations. 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.”
Included in those indigenous financial institutions is the Bank of Nevis, and the five locations in which the RBC operations will be absorbed are Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Additionally, all entities coming under the RBC Royal Bank Holdings (EC) Limited in Nevis, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be taken over.
Governor Antoine said that they are looking to conclude the transaction “not too long from now”.
The sale price has not been given but, like its fellow competitors in the sector, Financial experts believe that the institution wanted out of the region due to the growing threat posed by the new Anti-money Laundering and Countering the Financial of Terrorism Legislation.
Many of the banks have chosen to De-risk the region because of the steep fines that would be imposed if they were to be found guilty of breaching the legislation.
Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotia Bank) has already begun its exit from the region when it passed its operations unto Republic Bank in all Eastern Caribbean territories and several others.
That is one of a number of financial institutions that have already exited.
Recently, CIBC had its sale blocked by regulators to the Galinski Group.
The consortium banks taking over the operations of RBC are 1st National Bank of St. Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., National Bank of Dominica Ltd., Bank of Montserrat and Bank of Nevis Ltd.