Royal Bank of Canada selling Eastern Caribbean operations

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is offloading operations in the Eastern Caribbean. The sale includes branches in Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis, as well as regional businesses operating under RBC Royal Bank Holdings (EC) Limited in Nevis, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Entities, which have come together to buy include 1st National Bank of St Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd, National Bank of Dominica Ltd, the Bank of Montserrat and Bank of Nevis Ltd.

The agreement follows CIBCs agreement with the GNB Financial Group Limited to buy a majority number of shares in its FirstCaribbean Bank operations.

An official of the 1st National Bank St Lucia said the consortium of buyers was created to expand the scale of the locally-owned financial entities in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

In a press release, he said: “This transaction gives us the size and scale to play a more active role in the development of our respective countries. We see this transaction as the first step in achieving even greater synergies, efficiencies and cross-territory marketing opportunities.”

Wilfred Baghaloo of PwC Jamaica, who advised the consortium, said the transaction demonstrates that “Caribbean countries and businesses have the capacity and capability to come together when the circumstances are right”.

RBC will retain operations in the Bahamas, as well as Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos, all considered to be higher-income markets. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalised in 2020.