Bank of the Year Caribbean and Bank of the Year Trinidad and Tobago: Republic Bank

Bank of the Year Caribbean and Bank of the Year Trinidad and Tobago: Republic Bank

Republic Bank continued to pursue an aggressive growth strategy over the past couple of years, once again turning to acquisitions to expand its banking franchise throughout the Caribbean.

In 2017 and 2018, the bank acquired controlling stakes in banks in Grenada and the Cayman Islands, while the economy continued to sag at home in Trinidad and Tobago. The World Bank recently revised upward its forecast for the country’s GDP in 2019 to 0.9% from -0.5%.

This year Republic entered into an agreement to acquire Scotiabank’s banking operations as the Canadian institution focuses its strategy in larger markets in Latin America.

The deal includes Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana, St. Maarten and the Eastern Caribbean territories, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The purchase price was $123 million.

The acquisition, once approved by all the regulators involved, could increase Republic’s asset size, which stood at TTD85 billion ($12.5 billion) at the end of the fiscal third quarter ended in June. The bank posted profits of TTD497 million in the same period, compared to TTD362 million a year earlier.

But regulatory approvals are taking longer than initially anticipated.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) approved the deal for Scotiabank’s operations in Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

But the ECCB said discussions concerning the banks in Antigua and Barbuda would continue.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Guyana said it couldn’t approve the deal because of concerns it would give Republic a dominant position and stifle competition in Guyana. The government of Guyana agreed.