Prime Minister Browne invites Scotiabank to early meeting to discuss purchase of Antigua holdings

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne (file photo).

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has invited competent authorities of the Bank of Nova Scotia to a meeting by 7th January 2019 to discuss the purchase of the bank’s branch holdings in Antigua and Barbuda.

The invitation is contained in a letter sent on December 13 by the Prime Minister to Scotiabank’s branch Manager in Antigua, Ms. Suzan Snaggs-Wilson. 

In the letter, the Prime Minister said that the proposed meeting would be between high officials of the Bank of Nova Scotia and representatives of a “consortium comprising the Government, local banks and other qualified and competent local institutions” desirous of purchasing Scotiabank’s branch holdings in Antigua.  

He said, “The purpose of the meeting would be to discuss the parameters of the sale which would not necessarily exclude participation by any regional entity approved by the Government and the regulatory authorities”.

Explaining the Government’s position to the Bank of Nova Scotia, Prime Minister Browne stated: “The Government of Antigua and Barbuda makes it clear that its primary concern is to build resilience in the local banking sector and reduce its vulnerability to de-risking strategies employed by foreign owned entities that weaken our national capacity to participate in the global financial and trading system effectively”.

He added, “It is important that the ownership of the vital banking sector be re-balanced to improve the strength and capacity of local shareholding.   This in no way affects foreign-owned banks that now operate in Antigua and Barbuda”.   The Prime Minister also made clear that “the Bank of Nova Scotia’s decision to sell its branch holdings provides the opportunity for strengthening the local banking sector, improving their members’ resilience, and enhancing the nation’s utilization of its own wealth, including keeping profits at home for re-investment in economic growth and social development”.

For his information, the Prime Minister copied his letter to the Chairman of the Board of Republic Financial Holdings Limited of Trinidad and Tobago, which, he said, his government understands Bank of Nova Scotia had discussed arrangements for the possible sale of its Antigua branch holdings, subject to all legal and regulatory requirements.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. In agreement with the pm regarding the disrespect showed by Scotia to not only him but also the peole of a&b. If there are plenty local buyers willing to properly conpensate Scotia and republic, then so be it but come public and stop hiding behind the pm.. Scotia has stated that it and republic already have an agreement. Fact is terms of corresponding banking republic is stromger than any local group. Any consortium because of its large pressence throughput the regiom. It’s sad that our local banks who must have known of the Scotia sale found themselves with no pip in their lamp when Scotia was looking for buyers. Will the PM’s move bring back the opportunity? Tine will tell.

  2. I like the PM taking a shot at this opportunity. The reality is that the USA and EU are trying to cut Antigua from the global banking system. The only way we can fight back is by our own government owning a bank. I like PM Browne’s idea on this and hope it can work.

    Separately, I think Antigua should figure out ways to have closer banking relationships with China.

  3. I like many will move our deposits and leave the consortium with only our loans. No way am I leaving my deposits at the mercy of any consortium which will be subjected to government interference.

    • My thoughts as well. Anything that involves politicians is always corrupt. The same way they raid the statutory institutions will be the fate of any bank government is involved in.

  4. Sadly, I would not have any confidence in any local consortium that is set up, not because I want to resist local participation, but rather because of the HISTORY of these local banks. Bank of Antigua, ABIA, Swiss American National Bank, The Bank where Brian Stuart Young is the Manager, and ACB are examples that comes to mind and not ones with such a great history. Just like our Government Statutory Boards, our local banks have not been properly served by the Boards that have represented them and as a result, they have struggled and have gone bad. Clearly, the Boards that have represented all the local banks have not been good at their oversight duties and have failed the institutions where in some cases, Directors were fingered for giving themselves loans. I think that the Government needs to give the Trinidadian Group a change to buy and run the Scotia Branches as is expected. They already have the knowledge, the experience and the know how. If depositors only see any moves afoot to buy Scotia Bank locally, especially if Government is involved, I bet we would see a run on the bank with many persons taking their deposits and going elsewhere. Government needs top government, and stay away from these areas where others clearly would have the expertise. Just like I think that the Government who is the regulator also need to get out of the insurance business and the telecommunication business and stay far from the conflict of interest that have existed for so many years.

  5. Having a history of misogynistic interactions with women in positions of authority (IMF and US State dept. to name 2) this meeting will probably yield even less than if a local bid were not such a non-starter. The banking system is a global system based on global rules. No World Boss here, move on.

  6. In agreement with the pm regarding the disrespect showed by Scotia to not only him but also the peole of a&b. If there are local buyers willing to properly compensate Scotia and Republic, then so be it but come public and stop hiding behind the pm. Scotia has stated that it and Republic already have an agreement. Fact is terms of corresponding banking Republic is stronger than any local group because of its large pressence throughput the region. It’s sad that our local banks who must have known of the Scotia sale found themselves with no oil in their lamp when Scotia was looking for buyers. Will the PM’s move bring back the opportunity? Time will tell.

  7. Looks like that 15 million public funds that are/ were sitting in NAMCo will be buying more cherry pie for the few…

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