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FirstCaribbean sells assets in Belize

A major Caribbean bank, which has its head office in Barbados, is divesting its Belize operations and is awaiting regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Barbados, as well as the Central Bank of Belize.

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, which is headquartered in Warrens, St Michael, has sold its assets in Belize to the local financial institution, Heritage Bank. CIBC First Caribbean did not disclose the cost of the sale.

Chief executive officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Regional Operations Rik Parkhill said the decision was not an easy one, but that it was a necessary one.

Rik Parkhill

Rik Parkhill

“However it was necessary to sharpen our focus on the growth opportunities we have in other markets where we operate. We conducted a strategic review of our business across the region and given the growth path we have identified we have made the difficult decision to sell our Belize operations. This decision was made easier because of the credible and respected partner we have been able to identify for this transaction, Heritage Bank,” said Parkhill.

He said the bank was keen to minimize the impact on its employees and its customers in Belize and would work diligently with Heritage Bank to ensure as seamless a transition as possible.

“We have met with our staff in Belize to apprise them of our decision to sell our operations in Belize, and have shared information about potential opportunities for them with Heritage Bank moving forward. We are satisfied that we are turning over our Belize operations to a financial institution that understands our customers and their financial needs. We are fully committed to supporting our employees and customers through this process,” added the banking executive.

The transaction, which is expected to be finalized in the coming months, is not expected to have a material impact on CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Tier I and Total Capital ratios.

In announcing that the applications had been made, managing director of Heritage Bank Stephen Duncan described the acquisition of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Belize assets as an excellent opportunity for his business.

“We are excited about the opportunities that this addition will provide and the ability to further cement our place in the Belize market. In addition, we are happy to be part of the first-of-its-kind bank consolidation to take place in Belize,” said Duncan.

“Our Bank’s mission is to maximize shareholder value by providing superior and innovative banking services tailored to meet the needs of our clients in a cost effective way by utilizing technology and the skills of a highly trained cadre of employees. The scope that this acquisition will give us will certainly assist us in delivering on our mission” he added.

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