The Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited (CIHL), the parent company for the Belize Bank Ltd (BBL), says it is acquiring the Scotiabank Belize pending final regulatory approval.
The sale is part of a regional refocusing by the Canadian bank and the transaction is in excess of US$30 million.
“One of the strategic goals of the Belize Bank for quite a while has been to expand our regional operation and to become a regional banking franchise. So it has been a number of years now in which we have been looking at acquisitions across the Caribbean,” said Lyndon Guiseppi, BBL’s executive chairman.
“Over the last 13 months, the opportunity was presented to us when Scotiabank was deciding to leave the jurisdiction and we engaged in discussions with Scotiabank over the past thirteen months. These negotiations were on again, off again negotiations and finally they consummated in us signing a deal on Friday,” he added.
The bank, which has nine branches here, has been operating here for the past 52 years and Guiseppi said it is perhaps the best capitalized bank in the financial system.
“So there is no question about the strength and stability of Scotiabank, it’s a very strong financial operation. What you have was a very strategic decision by Scotiabank in Toronto to exit the Caribbean. In the last year, for instance, Scotiabank has sold all of their operations in the Eastern Caribbean. They are currently in negotiations to sell their operations in Guyana and also in Antigua and I know a month ago they also sold their operations in the British Virgin Islands,” he added.
Last September, the St. Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) said it had approved the sale of Scotiabank in six Eastern Caribbean countries to the Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holding Limited (RFHL) and that discussions were continuing between the Canadian bank and the Antigua and Barbuda government.
The ECCB said it had approved the application for the transfer of the assets and liabilities to RFHL in Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts- Nevis, St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The ECCB believes that Republic Bank’s corporate banking record and its extensive network of correspondent banks will bode well for the ECCU banking sector.
“The ECCB is resolute about its mandate to protect the EC dollar and will continue to maintain high levels of foreign reserves while protecting the stability of the banking system. Citizens and residents in ECCB member countries are encouraged to stay abreast of developments in the financial sector,” the Central Bank added.
Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, Joy Grant, said the financial regulator, is aware of the purchase agreement between both companies.