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ECCB approves Royal Bank of Canada sale

Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine, has confirmed that his organisation will be approving the sale of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) operations in several territories in the Eastern Caribbean.

Antoine, accompanied by chair of the Monetary Council, St Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Timothy Harris, made the disclosure during a press briefing following the conclusion of an ECCU Monetary Council meeting held recently at the ECCB headquarters in Basseterre, St Kitts.

RBC assets will be sold to a consortium of indigenous banks within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union jurisdiction, namely the 1st National Bank of St Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank, National Bank of Dominica, Bank of Montserrat; and Bank of Nevis.

“On the question of RBC, 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. But the idea is to conclude that transaction not too long from now,” Antoine said.

“So that is moving forward. In fact, I can tell you [on February 11, 2021] we submitted to the finance ministers a vesting order or vesting orders, which is an important legal instrument to transfer assets from one bank or banking entity to another,” he added.

The governor also briefly addressed the recent announcement by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) that its bid to sell a majority stake in FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited (FCIB) failed to meet the approval of Caribbean regulators.

“In terms of the sale of CIBC, I would simply confirm that regulators across the region considered it. Central Bank of Barbados is the lead regulator, based on the jurisdiction of CIBC FCIB. But all regulators, including the ECCB, were involved in that discussion, and came to that decision which has been conveyed… the application was denied,” he said.

In 2019, the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) completed the sale of much of its stake in the Eastern Caribbean to the Trinidad and Tobago-based Republic Bank. In October 2020, BNS declared that it had reached an arrangement for the sale of its services in Antigua and Barbuda to the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB). The settlement is subject to regulatory permissions and other conventional closing requirements.