Royal Bank of Canada is selling its Eastern Caribbean operations

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced last Thursday that it has received the required approvals from local governments and from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank for the sale of its Eastern Caribbean banking operations.

RBC is selling its banking operations to a consortium of regional banks comprising First National Bank of St Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank, Bank of Dominica, Bank of Montserrat, and The Bank of Nevis.

The sale includes RBC’s 11 branches in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“This transaction will allow RBC to align investments and resources into markets where our vision for being the Caribbean’s digitally-enabled relationship bank can be executed most successfully,” said Rob Johnston, Head of Caribbean Banking.

“The sale of our Eastern Caribbean banking operations to indigenous banks is also a critical step forward in strengthening the domestic financial services sectors in each of the countries and territories involved. This will help create a stronger climate for further growth, development, and prosperity.”

With this transaction, RBC’s Caribbean presence — supported by 3,000 employees — will include 41 branches and offices across Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Royal Bank is one of several Canadian banks to announce planned sales or partial sales of business units operating in the Caribbean region.

Bank of Nova Scotia announced on Nov. 28 that it had reached an agreement to sell 100 per cent of its unit in the British Virgin Islands for an undisclosed amount to Republic Financial Holdings Ltd., which operates as Republic Bank. Prior to that, Republic also completed the purchase of Scotiabank’s operations in Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Oct. 31.

Scotiabank  announced in June that it had a deal to sell its operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Oriental Bank, a subsidiary of OFG Bancorp, which said it would pay $550 million cash and a $10 million deposit premium.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) announced on Nov. 8 that it had a deal to sell a large portion of its investment in CIBC FirstCaribbean to GNB Financial Group Ltd. for US$797 million, while retaining a 24.9 per cent interest in the company — which operates in 16 countries in the region.