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RBC sells Eastern Caribbean banking operations

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) today announced the sale of its Eastern Caribbean operations to a consortium of local banks from the region for an undisclosed sum.

RBC will sell its Eastern Caribbean branches to a regional consortium.

The sale, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will include RBC’s branches in Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, St Lucia, and St Kitts-Nevis and its RBC Royal Bank Holdings (EC) operations in Nevis, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The purchasing consortium is made up of five entities: 1st National Bank of St Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., National Bank of Dominica Ltd., the Bank of Montserrat and Bank of Nevis Ltd, RBC said in a statement today.

“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…”

– Head of RBC Caribbean Banking, Rob Johnston

Head of RBC Caribbean Banking, Rob Johnston, said “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,”Johnston said. 

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Rumours of RBC’s intent to leave the Caribbean have been rife for several months, with Antigua’s Minister of Information, Melford Nicholas, reported as saying the Canadian bank was looking to sell during a post-Cabinet briefing in September.

At the time, the company’s regional sales and communications director, Jacqueline Taggart, dispelled the notion stating that such rumours had persisted for much of RBC’s time in the Caribbean.

In response to the impending buyout, Managing Director of 1st National Bank of St Lucia, Johnathan Johannes, said, “We formed the consortium for the express purpose of expanding the scale of the locally owned financial entities in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.  This transaction gives us the size and scale to play a more active role in the development of our respective countries.”

Johannes said the move is an opportunity the consortium embraces and is the first step to achieving greater collaborations, efficiency and regional marketing opportunities.