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CIBC FirstCaribbean serves notice of cuts; other stringent changes

400px-CIBC_FirstCaribbean_International_Bank_in_Bridgetown,_St._Michael,_Barbados_(2011)On the heels of last week’s announcement by Scotiabank of its plans to layoff workers, another Canadian-headquartered commercial bank operating in Barbados has served notice of pending consolidation.

While no mention has been made of the word retrenchment, the Barbados-based FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB), which is a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), has informed customers of its intention to further consolidate its back office services which support its lending, account and client information processing.

As a result, customer information from all countries in which we operate may be processed outside of your home country in our consolidated centres or by third party processors,” the Bank said in a letter to one of its customers, dated November 3.

We are also outsourcing computer operations and some administrative and service functions to our parent company CIBC,” added in the Bank in the two-page letter, signed by Mark St Hill, managing director of Retail, Wealth, Business & International Banking.

 Managing Director of Retail, Wealth, Business & International Banking Mark St Hill

Managing Director of Retail, Wealth, Business & International Banking Mark St Hill

At the same time, FirstCaribbean has announced that major adjustments are coming to its customer agreement next month.

Local customers of the bank, which operates in 17 Caribbean territories, have been given until December 31st to agree to the stringent changes, which will give FirstCaribbean unilateral control over all applicable interest rates, fees, charges and overdraft limits in the future.

FirstCaribbean can also choose to notify customers publicly or privately of any hike in rates.

The changes, which are subject to regulatory approval, are due to take effect in January.

Customers must contact the Bank by yearend if they do not consent to the adjustments. However, this could lead to immediate termination of their banking services by FirstCaribbean, which, as a result of the new provisions contained in Schedule 1, is free to share and process information on customer accounts outside of Barbados in its consolidated centres or with its third party processors.

The Bank will not be liable to [the customer] by reason of any act, delay or omission of such CIBC FirstCaribbean Group member or any third party service provider in the performance of the services required of it,” the Schedule states.

In the letter announcing the changes, St Hill said FirstCaribbean was aiming to serve its customers better.

7 Responses to CIBC FirstCaribbean serves notice of cuts; other stringent changes

  1. Derek Bain
    Derek Bain November 14, 2014 at 1:07 am


  2. Robert Holloway
    Robert Holloway November 14, 2014 at 1:08 am

    May 29., 2014 / quote: ” The Caribbean economy has been in a slump for several years, affected by the global financial crisis, which caused a slowdown in tourist visits to regions like the Cayman Islands, Barbados and the Bahamas” but “CIBC plans to stay in Caribbean despite second-quarter hit on weak economy” /

  3. Fiona Waldron November 14, 2014 at 1:59 am

    We really need some good consumer advocacy agencies in Barbados through – run by consumer advocates and fighting for consumers!!!! Not like Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt either, serious folks. I wonder if something like this falls under the remit of the Fair Trading Commission. A customer has a relationship with the bank and now you are telling me if the third party makes a mistake the bank is not liable? The customer has no relationship with the third party. So what happens? The customer gets screwed by the third party and he/she must just walk away…..

    It seems to me that our banking system is getting less and less competitive. They are slow to introduce new products (no credit cards with chip and pin technology), the cost of the new products are ridiculous (20 dollars to use your online banking to transfer money between accounts domiciled in Barbados but at another bank),the fees are just crazy ($1 per swipe of a debit card), unfair practices abound (for a mortgage I must pay the banks lawyers) and small businesses don’t have a change in hell for accessing credit….

    The regulator of the banking industry needs to take a good look at this industry! It needs a damn good shaking up! There should be incentive for innovation and development friendly banking. Otherwise, carve off small parts of the market and let more innovative players in. Enough really is enough….

    But then again, do our regulators really care, at every turn market concentration is taking place and not a word. Doubt me? Take a look at the LIME & Flow deal….. Yes, the market is small, but modern regulators need to look outside the box for solutions.

    • Ed November 14, 2014 at 6:14 am

      They can say not liable all they want. Let’s see what the Courts say!!

  4. Tony Webster November 14, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Bajans, start please praying.
    You could start off thanking God dat there are a couple other Banks, besides CIBC and their R.B.S. (Really Big Stick, as now being brandished).
    You are also advised to pray dat RBC doan buy-out CIBC; or dat BNS doan do likelwise; or dat CIBC doan buy-out all two both. T’ings are now…’in play”…as they say.
    Again: start praying, and continue as long as strength allows.
    No, doan call FTC, as dem alreddy very, very busy, and although a lota lotta people gine open accounts wid our nice Credit Unions, one non-negotiable reality, is that an international-grade bank, with SWIFT transfers an’ summuch to cater to those nice international business customers ’bout here…is absolutely critical. We need dem…mo’ dan dey need us.
    One last time: all together now; let us pray.
    PS: That fluttering noise? It’s dem drat chickens…coming home to roost…in spades.

  5. Patrick Blackman November 14, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I live here in Canada, Quebec actually and this would never be allowed to happen here. Where is the government position on this ?. There are serious privacy issues at stake here as the north american banks are required now to give government full details on all customer activity in their accounts. CIBC and Barclays should hav never been allowed to merge in the first place. They tried this same thing here CIBC merging with Bank of Montreal / Barclays and it was blocked. So the CEO of the bank move to Barclays and proceeded to do it from England and consolidated their operation in the region.

    We need to run these foreign banks out of the region as a whole as they just rip-off the local customers by charging high fees and pay low salaries compared to what they up here. We had BNB and we sold (stupidity) as there was too much politics in that bank.

    Let stop this bank from threatening the region, raise your voices and force government to act and represent the people. This is the same crap they are doing with Lime and Flow.

  6. Tony B November 16, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    As we realize these banks and other institutions are trying to railroad the country and its people in these harsh economic times, I would think it would be deamed nessessary that the Government, and its vaireous ministries should step in to stem these sorts of inappropriate terms/fees and conditions that are being imposed on the people of the country.
    It should be said that if these establishments can not implement these sort of terms and conditions at there headquarters in the countries where they are established then they should not be able to do it in our country.
    So I dear to say that it is time for the Priminster and his minster of finance and the minster of commerce come together and let them know such terms are not acceptable for the people of Barbados.


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