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The High Street branch of RBC Royal Bank in Antigua (File photo)

ECCB governor signals approval of RBC sale

The High Street branch of RBC Royal Bank in Antigua (File photo)

Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Timothy Antoine has announced that monetary authority will approve the sale of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) operations in several Eastern Caribbean territories to a consortium of indigenous banks across the subregion.

Speaking at a press briefing following the conclusion of the 98th Meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union Monetary Council on Friday 12 February 2021 at ECCB headquarters in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antoine revealed that 1st National Bank (St Lucia), Antigua Commercial Bank, National Bank of Dominica, Bank of Montserrat, and Bank of Nevis will take over RBC’s assets in their respective jurisdictions.

Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Timothy NJ Antoine
(Photo: Caribbean Association of Banks)

“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,” the ECCB governor noted, accompanied by chair of the Monetary Council and Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris. 

Chairman of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s Monetary Council and Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris (File photo)

Antoine stated that while an official announcement soon, the process was progressing smoothly and so he was now in a position to confirm the approval of the sale.

“So that is moving forward. In fact, I can tell you only yesterday [on Thursday, 11 February 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 pointed out.

A Canadian bank ‘move’

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 and you are correct the application was denied,” Antoine said.

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

The approval of RBC’s sales will follow the sale of Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) stake in the Eastern Caribbean to the Trinidad and Tobago-based Republic Bank, which began in 2019. Just last October, BNS revealed that it had reached an arrangement for the sale of its services in Antigua and Barbuda to the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Limited (ECAB). The settlement is subject to regulatory permissions and other conventional closing requirements.