The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is assessing the proposed majority sale of CIBC FirstCaribbean to GNB Financial Group in a $797m deal for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Governor Timothy Antoine of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) said the regulator was reviewing applications for the intended sale of banking assets within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) jurisdiction.
"Essentially I just want to confirm that we have now received applications from both CIBC/ FCIB in respect of the sale of two thirds of FCIB to the Gilinski group, and we have also as of this week received a formal application from the indigenous banks which are proposing to purchase the RBC operations in the Eastern Caribbean," he said, local media reports.
We are working with regulators across the region in respect of the first matter"
"We are working with regulators across the region in respect of the first matter. As you know, the first matter (of FCIB) is not just a ECCU matter, it in fact is across the Caribbean. So Barbados is the lead regulator on this matter, but all central banks are involved," Antoine added.
FirstCaribbean International Bank was formed in 2002, when CIBC and Barclays combined their respective retail, corporate and offshore operations in the region.
CIBC then bought Barclays' stake in 2006, becoming the majority shareholder, with the bank renamed CIBC FirstCaribbean. The lender is the biggest regionally-listed bank in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, with more than 2,700 staff, 57 branches and seven offices across 16 markets.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce announced last year it had reached an agreement to sell 66.73% of CIBC FirstCaribbean to GNB Financial Group Ltd. for $797m.
The consideration to be paid is made up of about $200m in cash and the remainder in secured financing provided by CIBC itself.
CIBC and RBC are the latest Canadian financial institutions to signal their intention to sell significant holdings in the Caribbean. In 2019, the Bank of Nova Scotia completed the sale of much of its stake in the Eastern Caribbean to the Trinidad and Tobago-based Republic Bank.