RBC sells Eastern Caribbean banks

Royal Bank of Canada(RBC) has signed a deal to sell its banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean, excluding Barbados, to a consortium of indigenous banks in the region.

It’s a further sign of the move by Canadian-owned banks to reduce their involvement in the English=speaking Caribbean following CIBC’s sale of a large part of its shares in CIBC First Caribbean and Scotia Bank’s divestment of its operations in several Eastern Caribbean territories.

The agreement to sell the RBC operations includes branches in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The terms of the deal or the consortium were not disclosed in the RBC statement. However, The Canadian Press reports the acquiring consortium of five financial entities includes 1st National Bank of St Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd, National Bank of Dominica Ltd, the Bank of Montserrat and Bank of Nevis Limited.

Rob Johnston, head of RBC Caribbean Banking says the company was approached by the consortium with the proposal earlier this year.

He adds that after a review of their operations and strategy, they felt we they felt agreeing to the deal would be a good decision for the international financial services group.

Some Eastern Caribbean governments have opposed efforts by another Canadian financial group, Scotia Bank to sell its branches to Trinidad and Tobago’s Republic Bank group.

Guyana has also refused to grant Republic Bank permission to take over Scotiabank’s branches there expressing concerns that the T and T group would monopolise the financial services sector.