The Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB) is reported to have purchased the Antigua & Barbuda Branch of Scotia Bank.
Confirmation of the sale was received from Government Spokesperson Lionel “Max” Hurst October 13. Hurst says that discussions about the sale of the bank have been ongoing for some time, even after Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) gave up interest in acquiring the bank.
He says ECAB, an amalgamation of several regional banks, had expressed an interest in the sale, and eventually purchased Scotia Bank for less than the sum offered to Republic Bank.
Hurst says the sale of Scotia Bank to a local consortium had been a sticking point for Prime Minister Gaston Browne “ever since it was revealed that Scotia Banks from across the region were being sold to Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.”
A meeting between the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union and Scotiabank’s staff was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. It was expected that employees would then be formally advised of the buy-out and plans for their future with ECAB, if any.
In 2018, Republic Bank announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Scotiabank’s banking operations in nine Caribbean countries, including the local branch.
The agreement was executed on November 27, 2018 and signaled the start of a transaction that was subject to all regulatory and other customary approvals and conditions.
However, in a letter dated November 28, 2018, Prime Minister Browne advised Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Central Bank, that until other divestment options – including the right of first refusal to a consortium of local banks – were explored, his Government would refuse to issue a vesting order.
Republic later gave up its interest in purchasing the local branch.
However, operations were taken over in St. Maarten, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. But, like Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana said it would not allow Republic Bank to take over operations of the Scotia Bank there.