by Linda Straker
- First Caribbean closed Grenville branch in Grenada in 2015
- In 2019, Anguilla will be first OECS territory to not have a FirstCaribbean Bank
Next year, Anguilla will be the first OECS country to no longer have a FirstCaribbean bank in its jurisdiction. The bank announced on Thursday that “branch operations will cease on Thursday, 31 January 2019 and the bank was requesting all account holders to close their accounts and transfer their business to another commercial bank in Anguilla.”
No announcement has yet been made about its branches in Grenada and other OECS territories. CIBC FirstCaribbean has been banking in the Caribbean since 1836.
A 13 September release from the bank on the Anguilla closure stated, “CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank today announced that it has taken a decision to close its Anguilla office early in the new year.
Managing Director of Barbados and the EC Islands, under which the Anguilla business falls, Donna Wellington, noted, “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 close our operations in Anguilla. “Our operation in Anguilla is a small one accounting for just 5% of overall market share there. Since the economic downturn, our business in Anguilla has been experiencing operational losses. Given the continuing economic climate, we have therefore taken the difficult decision to close our office there.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean has held discussions with the Government of Anguilla and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, as the regulator, and all parties have agreed to work in close coordination to ensure that the transition can take place in an orderly manner and that all are committed to ensuring continued financial stability in Anguilla.
The bank’s employees in Anguilla will be offered separation packages consistent with the bank’s policy.
Wellington added that branch operations will cease on Thursday, 31 January 2019 and the bank was requesting all account holders to close their accounts and transfer their business to another commercial bank in Anguilla. As it prepares for the closure of its Anguilla branch the bank will not be transacting any new business with immediate effect.
The regional bank is also making arrangements with National Commercial Bank of Anguilla Ltd, to allow clients with loan facilities and credit cards to service their debts to completion.
Wellington asserted, “We have met with our staff in Anguilla to apprise them of our decision and we are fully committed to supporting our employees and customers through this process.” She noted, “Additionally, we will be communicating with our clients to offer them the support they need in winding up their business with us.”
In Grenada, on 30 July 2015, FirstCaribbean closed its St Andrew’s branch and presently only operates branches in Grand Anse and St George’s.