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(Photo: Winnipeg Free Press)

Scotiabank sells operation in Antigua and Barbuda to ECAB

(Photo: Winnipeg Free Press)

In a press release yesterday, Scotiabank announced plans to divest its operations in Antigua and Barbuda after reaching a sale agreement with the Eastern Caribbean Almagated Bank (ECAB).

Though the Canadian ‘big five’ bank did not disclose the amount for the sale, it said that the transaction supports Scotiabank’s “strategic decision to focus on operations across its footprint where it can achieve greater scale and deliver the highest value for customers”.

“[ECAB is] a full-service commercial bank located in Antigua and Barbuda…committed to growing its business and providing high-quality products and services to all stakeholders.

While noting that the transaction is subject to approvals and closing conditions, Scotiabank pointed out that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has, in the meantime, expressed its support for the transaction.

Initial pushback

However, in November 2018 when the bank initially announced the sale of its operations in nine countries — in the Eastern Caribbean and Guyana — to the Trinidad and Tobago- public Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) it faced political pushback from the Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda governments.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne (File photo)

At the time, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Bowne disputed Scotiabank that it had not included his Government in any discussions about the sale of its operations to RFHL. While noting that he would not give approval to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank for the transaction, he contended that the divestment of Scotiabank’s operations in his country would compromise the integrity of the banking sector.

Prime Minister Browne subsequently told the bank that his Government would be willing to purchase a stake in its operations alongside a local consortium.

However, in November last year, Scotiabank announced that it would discontinue activities geared toward divesting its Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana operations.

A local bank

Signage at the entrance to a branch of the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (Photo: Antigua Newsroom)

In the press release yesterday, Scotiabank described ECAB as “a full-service commercial bank located in Antigua and Barbuda…committed to growing its business and providing high-quality products and services to all stakeholders.

“ECAB offers personal and commercial banking products and services including deposits, loans, cards, foreign exchange, and other services to individual and business clients in Antigua and Barbuda and across the Caribbean,” it continued.