Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Dr. Timothy Antoine, welcomed the Bank of Nevis to the “Premier League” during a ceremony on Tuesday (April 06, 2021) to mark the opening of its first branch on the island of St. Kitts.
The branch opening followed the recent acquisition of assets and liabilities owned by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) St. Kitts.
“As far as I am concerned, any bank in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) that has assets in excess of one billion dollars is in the Premier League of Banks in the ECCU,” Dr. Antoine stated. “But there is more, with this acquisition, the Bank of Nevis has more than tripled its asset size, moving from just over $500 million to just over $1.7 billion.”
The ECCB governor said that this move represents an opportunity to further cement the integration of St. Kitts and Nevis as well as to expand its development footprint and impact on the Federation.
“For me, development is about handling our own business. It is about our increasing capacity to handle our business,” he added, noting that trends show that indigenous banks are assuming greater responsibility for the region’s development.
“That is a welcome step and, it is one that the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank supports,” Governor Antoine expressed.
The governor said that while international banks are essential to the currency union, indigenous banks are more in tune with the local context.
“Indigenous banks have a comparative advantage in respect of our banking arrangements because they are from here,” said Dr. Antoine. “They are not going to get up and leave. They are closest to the people of our region and very often … understand the needs of our people far better than any other institution can or would.”
The Board and Management of the Bank of Nevis were encouraged to be mindful of their added responsibility to continue to pay strong attention to corporate governance and risk management. Additionally, they were advised to listen carefully to customers.
RBC’s banking operations in the ECCU were sold to a consortium of banks. The sale of assets and liabilities last week marked the end of RBC’s presence in the ECCU.