BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Senior representatives of Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) and Scotiabank met today to discuss the bank’s purchase and to obtain regulatory approval for Scotiabank’s operations in St. Kitts and Nevis.
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, had cordial and productive discussions with senior RFHL and Scotiabank representatives on RFHL’s purchase by Republic Financial Holdings of Scotiabank’s operations in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
The RFHL delegation is comprised of Chairman, Ronald Harford and Advice Financial Company Limited (AdFIN )Principal Advisor Ian De Souza, at. Scotiabank was represented by Senior Vice President of International Banking, Brendan King; and Managing Director for the Eastern Caribbean, David Parks. Dr. Harris was supported at the meeting by Mrs. Hilary Hazel, the Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Ms. Sherelle Hobson, Director in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Last November, RFHL announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana, St. Maarten and the Eastern Caribbean territories of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
During the discussions, RFHL told Dr. Harris it is committed to welcoming all Scotiabank’s staff into the Republic Group. This would increase the group’s staff complement to more than 6,000 people.
“Not one single staff member of Scotiabank will be displaced,” De Souza said. “They will not be affected in any form or fashion. Their remuneration will remain whole.”
“It was very important to us that our customers and employees be handled with care,” King explained. “This was important in order to ensure that there is no disruption of any kind.”
King stated that Scotiabank and RFHL “share the same core values,” and added , “Our reputation is very important to us.”
“It is very necessary to protect our reputation,” Harford said. “We will practice those high standards that Scotiabank has practiced.”
Harford said RFHL is very skilled at anti-money laundering and knows Scotiabank’s customer procedures. He said RFHL has correspondent banking relationships with an extensive range of major international banks in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and elsewhere.
Harford said the acquisition would create “a strong regional champion” with US $15 billion in assets up from US $10.5 billion. Profits would also increase, post-acquisition, from US $198 million to US $270 million.
The Republic Group has served the Caribbean for 181 years, having opened its first office in Port of Spain, Trinidad, with the establishment of Colonial Bank in 1837. It has branches in Grenada and St. Lucia.
Since 2001, RFHC has financed over US $268 million in support of significant nation-building projects across the Caribbean; this sum includes US $7.4 million for the Carifesta Housing Development in St. Kitts in 2005.
“The future of these islands is bright,” Harford told Prime Minister Harris.
“We are seeing an influx of high-end tourism and I see you’re ahead of the game,” Harford told Dr. Harris. “It [high-end tourism] has brought the executive jets and the mega-yachts to you.”
Harford commended Prime Minister Harris on his expert management of the economy.
“Based on the state of the roads and infrastructure that he has seen while here, as well as the high level of construction,” Harford concluded. “There appears to be lot of faith in the future of your country.”