The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has approved the sale of Royal Bank of Canada in the territories of the Eastern Caribbean.
On Friday, Governor Timothy Antoine of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank confirmed that RBC assets will be sold to a consortium of indigenous banks within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) jurisdiction, viz. 1st National Bank (St. Lucia), Antigua Commercial Bank, National Bank of Dominica, Bank of Montserrat, and Bank of Nevis. The sale includes operations in Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Governor Antoine made the announcement of the approval at a press briefing following the 98th Meeting of the ECCU Monetary Council on Friday at ECCB headquarters in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.
He said, “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. 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. So that process is moving forward.”
The sale of RBC to Caribbean banks follows the similar acquisitions of Canadian based banks by Caribbean entities. In 2019, much of Bank of Nova Scotia’s stake in the Eastern Caribbean was sold to Trinidad and Tobago’s Republic Bank. In October last year, BNS declared that it had reached an arrangement for the sale of its services in Antigua and Barbuda to the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Limited (ECAB). That settlement is subject to regulatory permissions and other conventional closing requirements.
The Governor also addressed the recent decision by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) that a majority stake in First Caribbean International Bank Limited (FCIB) would not be sold after a bid was rejected by 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.”