Friday, April 19, 2024

Role for regional banks

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THE CARIBBEAN’S INDIGENOUS BANKS have made important contributions to regional economic development.

And even though he believed that in current times they were in some regards “an endangered species”, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler said these entities still had vital contributions to make.

Sinckler was speaking recently as First Citizens Bank opened its sixth Barbados branch at The Walk, Welches, St Thomas.

The minister lauded regional indigenous banks like First Citizens, which he said were operating in “a highly competitive, and at times excessively unforgiving economic environment, which assured no success”.

“So that in essence what you have been able to achieve, not only across the region but right here in Barbados, is…evidence that we in the Caribbean and as Caribbean people, not only have the physical capacity but the intellectual wherewithal and the technical capacity to conceptualise, design and execute policies, programmes, initiatives, products and…first rate institutions in all spheres of human endeavour in this region of ours,” he told an audience that included First Citizen’s recently-appointed group chief executive officer (CEO) Karen Darbasie.

“And while we very much welcome and encourage investment and input from our . . . colleagues, and partners and stakeholders from abroad, your example, and the success that you have shown over the years, is that we too, have a story to tell and an input to make that is born out of our own experiences and knowledge and which quite frankly is more easily adaptable and relevant to our particular circumstances,” he added.

Darbasie said the group “has maintained its commitment to building a highly profitable financial services franchise, renowned for innovativeness, service excellence and sound corporate governance”.

“Our staff throughout the group has contributed to the significant success of First Citizens. Each team works passionately to ensure that every customer enjoys a memorable experience and that First Citizens works assiduously to add value to the communities in which we operate as well as to the countries as a whole,” she said.

“As First Citizens increases its presence in the Barbadian community, our intention is to continue on our momentum of building a solid reputation while partnership with each of you. We are confident that our presence will yield nothing less than a successful bond between Barbados and the First Citizens Group.”

First Citizens Bank Barbados CEO Glyne Harrison said as an entity born out of the Caribbean, the bank was “uniquely positioned to full understand the financial needs of our customer and to provide for those needs”.

“We are also pleased to be using our position as one of the leading banks in the region to continue to make significant social investments through our corporate social responsibility efforts on the island. Since we entered the market, we have made significant investments towards the cultural industries, education, youth, and social welfare. We look forward to making even more investments as we continue to grow and expand our operations,” he said. (SC)

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