International acclaim for Caribbean banks

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International acclaim for Caribbean banks
Mr. Johnathan Johannes (centre) receiving the award for Saint Lucia on behalf of 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited at The Banker Magazine's Bank Of The Year Awards.
Mr. Johnathan Johannes (centre) receiving the award for Saint Lucia on behalf of 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited at The Banker Magazine’s Bank Of The Year Awards.

(PRESS RELEASE) – Two member organisations of the Caribbean Association of Banks Inc. (CAB) have been recognised by internationally-renowned financial magazine The Banker in its Bank Of The Year awards. Announced last Friday, 29 November, the institutions in question are 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited and Jamaica’s NCB Financial Group.

The two banks were named the most outstanding in their respective jurisdictions during the awards ceremony in London, England. These awards are presented by The Banker Magazine, which was started in 1926 as a subsidiary of the Financial Times of London. It has been known as the ‘Global Banker’s Bible’ for over 90 years.

The Bank of the Year Awards celebrate excellence in the industry worldwide. A panel of editors including regional and sector specialists assesses over 1,000 applications from 120 countries before deciding which banks are worthy of the highest honor in global banking, based on their improvements in the preceding year.

“These awards are testament to the capability of our Caribbean firms,” opined CAB CEO Ms. Wendy Delmar. “They attest to the ability and hard work of our financial services practitioners, and we join in congratulating the management, staff, and customers of these outstanding businesses. We wish them greater success going forward.

“Regionally, our financial services sector has come under heavy scrutiny by international regulators, which makes these awards all the more valuable and well-received,” she continued. “It further solidifies CAB’s position, that our institutions are resolute in creating and maintaining a strong, stable financial environment, which allows us to operate in the best interests of our customers, whilst enabling us to promote a healthy economy.”

The winner for Saint Lucia, 1st National Bank was hailed by The Banker for “stellar financial performance and its continuous efforts to grow its customer base.” Among the sterling numbers cited for 2018, net profits surged by 180%, while total assets grew by 14% to $283.3m. A focus on corporate banking saw 1st National’s corporate loan portfolio grew by 42% to $99.4m.

“We continue to recognise and find creative ways to mitigate the challenges of being an indigenous bank. We are committed to greatness and transitioning from good to great, and always remembering that strategy without execution will get us nowhere,” says 1st National CEO Mr. Johnathan Johannes, who is also a director on the CAB board.

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s NCB as hailed for its expansionist vision, having obtained a controlling stake in Trinidad and Tobago’s Guardian Holdings, an insurance, pension and asset management firm with a 21-country network in the English and Dutch Caribbean. NCB has also been a technological innovator with regard to investment, credit cards, and lending.

“The key ingredients of our success continue to be innovation, expertise and strength,” says NCB Financial Group CEO Mr. Septimus ‘Bob’ Blake. “We listen to our customers, and innovate to meet their needs. We invest aggressively in technology and equip our team to deliver expert service.”

The 2019 Banker’s Bank Of The Year awards were presented to companies in 138 countries, as well as six regional awards, and the top prize for the global bank of the year.

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