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Here to serve

Incoming Managing Director and CEO of Republic Bank, Ian De Souza, listens attentively as the outgoing Managing Director Derwin Howell makes a point to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart during the courtesy call.

There is a promise from Republic Bank Barbados Limited to fulfill its remit of serving the country as well as ensuring that its operations are on a strong footing here and throughout the region.

Outgoing Managing Director of the Bank, Derwin Howell, gave this undertaking today during a meeting with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to introduce the incoming Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ian De Souza at Government Headquarters.

Howell said one of the highlights of his two-year assignment was strengthening the bank’s balance sheet and overseeing the amalgamation of the Barbados Mortgage Finance Company under the bank’s umbrella and the rebranding exercise.

“We continue to show that the name change is for strategic reasons from a Republic Bank perspective. We cannot compete in the region with the Scotias [Bank of Nova Scotia], the RBCs [Royal Bank of Canada] and the FCIBs [CIBC FirstCaribbean] and not have a united or integrated brand. So, we intend to show the public that the Republic brand has been good for the other parts of the group and it will be good for Barbados,” he emphasised.

Howell also updated the Prime Minister on the bank’s corporate social responsibility activities and disclosed that over the last five years, $5 million had been pumped into various charitable causes, sports, music and the arts.

The outgoing managing director also updated Stuart on the bank’s assistance to the small business sector and efforts to further strengthen this area.

When asked about the challenges in banking during a recession, De Souza explained: “We are going to be living in very challenging times. As a banker, we do not want to waste depositors’ funds on weak ventures. Going forward, we have to determine if we are going to place those funds in credit worthy ventures to ensure good returns on depositors’ funds. Therefore, within the context of a shrinking economy, how do you find those good lending opportunities?” he queried.

In turn, Howell also gave an overview of the bank’s performance in the four territories in which it operated.

“We have some reasonably good economies to work with. Although we are not seeing the growth figures that we would like, but by the same token, we are not seeing disaster and I think that there are things that we can build on.”

Stuart thanked Howell on his contribution to Barbados’ banking sector during his two years at the helm and pledged Government’s assistance wherever possible.

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