Brendan King, Scotiabank’s senior vice president for international banking, was in Barbados recently to personally deliver the bank’s ongoing commitment to Barbados.
Speaking at a cocktail event held on Tuesday, November 5 at the Sandy Lane Country Club, Mr King said “I thought it was important to very publicly state our commitment to Barbados - this has been a great market for us for 63 years.”
He said the bank had reviewed whether it could continue to operate in Barbados “within our risk parameters” and still earn a return for its shareholders, and “it’s very clear after our analysis that Barbados continues to be a strong market for us and we’re looking forward to growing here for many years to come.”
Mr. King said that Scotiabank was happy with the number of branches it has remaining on the island and ws aggressively pursuing new business by offering a new mobile app and ironing customer service. The bank felt the country would embrace these innovations since only 14 percent of day-to-day transactions such as deposits, and withdrawals were done in Scotia branches.
He said Barbados had one of the lowest rates of usage of the branches for such financial transactions, and by contrast, one of the of the highest rates for digital adoption in all of the Caribbean, with over one-third of Scotia customers - 35% - now conducting their business online or on mobile. “The vast majority is done online at ATMs or point-of-sale, so it’s a great evolution,” he added.
Mr. King’s comments came after Scotiabank’s plans to exit some of the region’s market hit a further snag.
Last November (2018) the Bank of Nova Scotia said it planned to sell its banking operations in nine Caribbean countries and its insurance operations in two other regional markets.
It had agreed to sell its banking operations in nine of what it termed “non-core” markets — including Antigua, Guyana, Grenada, St. Maarten and St. Lucia — to Republic Financial Holdings Ltd.
But in late September, Canada’s Globe and Mail reported that Scotia’s proposed deal to sell its operations in Guyana was turned down by the country’s central bank.
According to Reuters, referencing the Globe and Mail article, “The Bank of Guyana cited concerns about concentration and competition in denying Scotiabank permission to sell the business to Republic…”
But it noted that Scotiabank was “already locked in a standoff with the government of Antigua and Barbuda, which has refused to approve the sale of Scotiabank’s Antiguan branch.”
And just a week ago Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation announced that its subsidiary Sagicor Financial Corporation wouldn’t go ahead with the acquisition of Scotia Jamaica Life Insurance Company. However, Alignvest and Sagicor were continuing to pursue the acquisition to buy Scotiabank Insurance Trinidad and Tobago remained intact, “subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions.”
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