The Bank of Nevis Limited elected two new directors to its Board during the 23rd Annual General Meeting held on January 28 — Mr. Rawlinson Isaac and Mr. Vernel Powell. The new appointees replaced two directors retired By rotation, Miss Lyra Richards and Mr. Oral Martin. Mr. Isaac previously served as Managing Director of the bank for over 15 years. The Observer interviewed Mr. Isaac about the appointment and his feelings upon returning to the bank as Chairman of the Board. “I accepted the appointment with pride and humility,” he said, noting that Bank of Nevis is now the biggest financial institution on the island. “I return to the bank with renewed vigor, bringing a new perspective.” When asked how his current duties compared with those in the past, he responded: “It is a different role. As a manager you are guided By different principles. As chairman of the board my responsibility is to ensure that the bank meets is mission and accomplishes its strategic planning goals.” According to Mr. Isaac, his chief challenge will be to identify risks and provide effective leadership in navigating a financial environment hampered By tight markets and limited liquidity, with increasing unemployment and high national debt. On his specific goals upon accepting the appointment, he said: “I want to help raise the bank’s ranking in the Federation marketplace with more effective marketing. … I also want to see improvements in efficiency and the level of service, leading to greater customer satisfaction.” Enhancing deposits, especially in savings accounts, were also cited By Mr. Isaac as a primary aim. Another key focus will be the bank’s lending activities, specifically in areas that are critical to the Federation’s development. The new chairman feels that money should be lent responsibly, with a balance struck between the risks associated with long-term funding and the desire to generate profits. In a recent speech before an anti-money laundering awareness seminar Permanent Secretary of Finance on Nevis Mr. Laurie Lawrence touted the legislative actions taken By Nevis Island Administration to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Mr. Isaac indicated his full accord with the measures taken. “I am a strong supporter of the bills against money laundering,” he said. “We do not want to be part of aiding, assisting or in any way being part of a vehicle for those types of funds to pass through our system.” Looking back at his career accomplishments, including the long tenure in bank management, Isaac said that he is very proud of the advances that the Bank of Nevis made under his stewardship. “When I started, we were at $12 million [in total assets] and I carried it to $380 million,” he said. “The staff grew from 7 to 55.” He also indicating being instrumental in the creation of Bank of Nevis International, which is the only licensed offshore bank in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis. Mr. Isaac became General Manager of the Bank of Nevis in 1990 after a long stint at the St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank, starting in 1973 and continuing for seven years at job duties that included internal auditing, accounting and general supervision. From 1983 to 1990 he held the position of Manager of the Nevis Branch, St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank. In terms of educational background, Mr. Isaac graduated with a BA (Hons) in Accounting from the University of the Virgin Islands and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance from the University of Wales/Manchester Business School. He is a fellow of The Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB), and an Associate of The Institute of Financial Accountants (AFA). Additionally, Mr. Isaac holds a Diploma in Financial Studies and a Diploma in Trust and Estate Practice from The Chartered Institute of Bankers, United Kingdom, and is a member of the American Management Association International. Looking back on his career, Mr. Isaac is proud of his role in expanding the scope of individuals who can ascend to a leadership position in the banking industry, once an enclave of the very few. “I wanted to make sure that there was room for ordinary people to reach the top levels in banking,” he said. The leading businessman and entrepreneur, who is the CEO of the Sea Bridge (SKN) Inc, a ferry service which provides transport between Nevis and St. Kitts, feels that one must plan carefully in order to achieve success in life. “You must be strategic in your thinking, prepare and think outside of the box” he opined. “You must work assiduously to surmount every obstacle and never lose sight of your goals no matter what challenges appear in your way.” While admitting that sometimes a little luck is necessary, he stressed that ambitious goals you feel passionate about can be achieved. Right now, Mr. Isaac’s stated aim is to translate the passion and joy he felt at being asked to serve on the Board of the Bank of Nevis into helping to raise the institution’s profile and to cultivate a greater sense of confidence and satisfaction among its customers.
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