PRESS RELEASE – Heritage Bank and CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank today announced that they have entered into an agreement that will see Heritage Bank acquiring the assets of the Belize operations of CIBC FirstCaribbean.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and the requisite applications have been submitted to the Central Bank of Belize and the Central Bank of Barbados. The transaction is expected to be finalized in the coming months.
In announcing that the applications had been made, Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Stephen Duncan, described the acquisition of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Belize assets as an excellent opportunity for Heritage Bank. He noted, “We are excited about the opportunities that this addition will provide and the ability to further cement our place in the Belize market. In addition, we are happy to be part of the first-of-its-kind bank consolidation to take place in Belize.”
“Our Bank’s mission is to maximize shareholder value by providing superior and innovative banking services tailored to meet the needs of our clients in a cost effective way by utilizing technology and the skills of a highly trained cadre of employees. The scope that this acquisition will give us will certainly assist us in delivering on our mission” Mr. Duncan noted.
The CEO of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Regional Operations, Mr. Rik Parkhill noted, “We have a strong team in Belize and these decisions are never easy, however it was necessary to sharpen our focus on the growth opportunities we have in other markets where we operate. We conducted a strategic review of our business across the region and given the growth path we have identified we have made the difficult decision to sell our Belize operations. This decision was made easier because of the credible and respected partner we have been able to identify for this transaction – Heritage Bank.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean is very keen to minimize the impact on its employees and its customers in Belize and intends to work diligently with Heritage Bank to ensure as seamless a transition as possible.
Mr. Parkhill asserted, “We have met with our staff in Belize to apprise them of our decision to sell our operations in Belize, and have shared information about potential opportunities for them with Heritage Bank moving forward. We are satisfied that we are turning over our Belize operations to a financial institution that understands our customers and their financial needs. We are fully committed to supporting our employees and customers through this process.”
The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Tier I and Total Capital ratios.