RBC workers to be given full severance; ACB assures business as usual

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 A consortium of Eastern Caribbean indigenous banks (of which Antigua Commercial Bank is a member), today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase all banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean from Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to be finalized in the coming months.

The notice of acquisition had the blessing of the Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet said spokesman, Information Minister, Melford Nicholas.

With many depositors and employees of both banks now being made aware of the acquisition, ACB’s General Manager, Joanna Charles indicated, “there are no plans for any immediate changes to the operation of the business/branches that we are acquiring. In addition, where possible, we will adopt best practices of RBC to ensure we maintain the very high quality service levels that RBC customers have come to expect”.

Minister Nicholas sought to further assure the employees of RBC that, “the government had actually gone to Parliament at an earlier stage and made it law that if such takeovers should take place, that the equity of the workers had to be liquidated as a perfunctory issue. It could not be that [the employee’s equity] be transferred.”

“Royal Bank will be obligated to meet those severance requirements for the workers. And I guess within the context of the expanded bank, that there will be other opportunities for them to be further employed.”

Speaking on the acquisition agreement Nicholas said that it, “satisfied the policy position of the government that whereas there is going to be consolidation in the local banking sector, we wanted to ensure that, as far as possible, that the consolidation remained within the context of locally-owned banks.”

The consortium was led by Johnathan Johannes, Managing Director, 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited, who 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.”

The five financial entities participating in the sale are: 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., National Bank of Dominica Ltd., the Bank of Monserrat Limited and Bank of Nevis Ltd. The sale encompasses *seven branches of Royal Bank of Canada (Antigua, Dominica, Monserrat, St. Lucia (two locations) and St. Kitts and Nevis (St. Kitts two locations)), as well as the regional businesses operating under RBC Financial (Caribbean) Limited (“RBCFCL”); specifically RBTT Bank (SKN) Limited (Nevis), RBTT Bank Grenada Limited (Grenada) – two locations, RBC Royal Bank Holdings (EC) Limited (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and RBTT Bank Caribbean Limited (St. Vincent and the Grenadines). Collectively, these operations are  referred to informally as “RBC Eastern Caribbean”. 

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