Butterfield interested in Channel Islands

Pedro Gonçalves
Butterfield interested in Channel Islands

Bermuda-based Butterfield would consider buying the Channel Islands operation of a UK high street bank if one ever went up for sale as it focuses on growth, its CEO said. 

"Yes. I think we have been public about our interest in increasing the size of our banking presence in both Guernsey and Jersey.

"Obviously, it's a bit opportunistic because there are not often many platforms for sale. But when they are, we are always first in line to take a look at it, Butterfield chief executive officer Michael Collins said, the Guernsey Press reports.

Collins added that Butterfield's presence in Bermuda and Cayman was very profitable, but that the bank had a "lot of concentration in those markets".

‘Maybe the Channel Islands eventually becomes a third of our business and Bermuda is a third and Cayman is a third. It just seems to be a better spread of business and risk. So, we're definitely interested,' said Mr Collins.

Buying a high street bank subsidiary would be far larger than previous deals, but Butterfield could access capital to pay for such acquisitions. ‘One of the benefits of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange is that we actually have access to capital now.

‘So, if there's an opportunity like that and we need to raise capital, we go back to our shareholders and investor base and explain why it makes sense and raise capital, whether it's common equity or subordinate debt or preferred shares intended to fund it.

The interest comes as the Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son is turning its attention to ramping up its Asian operations, after it acquired the Deutsche Bank Global Trust Solutions business (excluding the US operations), earlier this year.