CIBC FirstCaribbean's regional headquarters in Bridgetown, Barbados. (File photo)

CIBC FirstCaribbean to pay dividends again

CIBC FirstCaribbean's regional headquarters in Bridgetown, Barbados. (File photo)

After seeing its profits crash in 2020 and its sale by parent company Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) blocked by regulators, FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB) is paying its first dividend in over a year to shareholders.

Though CIBC controls 91.67 per cent of the company, FCIB is listed on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange with 8.33 per cent controlled by other shareholders. The dividend payment amounts to US$0.01 (TT$0.068) per share to be paid on October 8 to shareholders on record as of September 16. It totals US$15.77 million. FCIB’s board has not declared a dividend since its fourth quarter when high levels of uncertainty and reduced profitability lead it to focus on capital preservation.

A CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank branch in Fairview Mall, Montego Bay, Jamaica. (File photo)

Due to lower transactions volumes and narrow margins from the low interest rate environment, FCIB’s third quarter (July 31) revenue only improved by two per cent to US$137.89 million. Its corporate and investment banking division lead the recovery while its wealth management, retail, business and international banking segments saw reduced performance amid lower asset valuations and high credit loss provisions.

Even with operating expenses remaining flat, the 88 per cent reduction in credit loss provisions resulted in its profit before taxation rising by 119 per cent to US $39.33 million ($6.06 billion). Net profit attributable to shareholders for the quarter grew by 143 per cent to US $36.13 million. FCIB’s adjusted net profit for the nine months rose from US $7.6 million to US $99.9 million.

Total assets for the regional bank increased by 3 per cent to US $12.5 billion due to the growth in its cash and balances with other banks. Total liabilities grew by 4 per cent to US $11.42 billion with equity attributable to owners closing the period at US $1.01 billion.

“Even though the virus remains a threat and the pace of economic recovery somewhat uncertain, our Bank remains well-positioned to deliver on its strategic objectives, focusing on delivering a top class client experience, digital transformation and improving operational efficiency.” Stated the report signed by CEO Collette Delaney.

Collette Delaney, CEO, FirstCaribbean International Bank (File photo)

“The pace of the economic recovery in the region continues to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its more contagious variants. While restrictions imposed by governments to limit the impact of the infection have started to ease in some jurisdictions, disruption in international travel and global supply chains continue to impact the region. The roll-out of vaccines continues to be a targeted health measure for governments, however vaccination rates have generally slowed. Timely completion of vaccination programs will play a key role in controlling the virus and promoting a sustainable economic recovery.” Said Delaney.