The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) recently announced it has entered into definitive agreements to sell all banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean to a consortium of indigenous banks within the region. With more than 100 years of dedicated service to the region, RBC has maintained a presence in 17 countries, with 52 branches and over 3,200 employees serving more than one million clients. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to be finalized in the coming months.
“Consistent with our strategy of being a competitive leader in the markets where we operate, RBC is always evaluating opportunities for our business. Earlier this year, we were approached by a consortium of indigenous banks with their proposal to acquire all RBC Eastern Caribbean operations,” said Rob Johnston, Head of RBC Caribbean Banking. “After a review of our operations and strategy, we determined this opportunity was a good decision for the long-term future success of RBC Caribbean, and also, that it aligned with our vision to help our clients thrive and communities prosper.”
The sale encompasses the branches of Royal Bank of Canada in Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as regional businesses operating under RBC Royal Bank Holdings (EC) Limited in Nevis, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Collectively, these operations are referred to as “RBC Eastern Caribbean.” The consortium of five financial entities purchasing includes: 1st National Bank of St. Lucia, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., National Bank of Dominica Ltd., the Bank of Montserrat, and Bank of Nevis Ltd.
Johnathan Johannes, Managing Director, 1st National Bank of St. Lucia, shared, “We formed the consortium for the express purpose of expanding the scale of the locally owned financial entities in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. This transaction gives us the size and scale to play a more active role in the development of our respective countries. We see this transaction as the first step in achieving even greater synergies, efficiencies and cross-territory marketing opportunities.”
“RBC has operated in the Caribbean for more than 100 years – longer than we have been in many parts of Canada. We remain committed to the future of the Caribbean and to a vision of digital innovation that transcends traditional services,” Johnston said. “This transaction will allow us to realign and focus our strategy on Caribbean markets where we can achieve that vision most successfully. Self-determination is the highest level of empowerment – and the indigenous banks acquiring this business will now have an increased opportunity to influence the development of their communities.”
Johannes added, “And speaking on behalf of the local banks, we embrace and eagerly anticipate that opportunity.” The consortium was advised by PwC (JA), led by Wilfred Baghaloo, who added “This transaction demonstrates that Caribbean countries and businesses have the capacity and capability to come together when the circumstances are right.”
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. RBC will release its first quarter 2020 results and host an earnings conference call on February 21, 2020.