PHILIPSBURG–The Council of Ministers is expected to meet with the management of Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) on Friday, December 7, on the pending sale of the bank’s local operations in St. Maarten.
Scotiabank announced last week it is exiting nine Caribbean territories (St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines), and has entered an agreement with Trinidad-based leading financial group Republic Financial Holdings Limited to purchase its banking operations in what it called its non-core markets for US $123 million.
Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin said in a press release on Sunday Scotiabank’s management is expected to “elucidate and share pertinent information based on the announcement of the sale of its operations on Sint Maarten and eight other Caribbean territories to Republic Financial Holdings Limited (Republic Bank).”
Representatives of the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) are invited to attend the meeting. One of CBCS’ key functions is to supervise banking and other credit institutions to primarily promote the stability, integrity, efficiency, safety, and soundness of the financial sectors in Curaçao and Sint Maarten and safeguard the interest of the depositors and other creditors of the banking and other credit institutions.
“I am confident that the Central Bank will execute its function with respect to this matter to ensure that the interests and wellbeing of all stakeholders, including the employees and clients of Scotiabank, are fully adhered to based on the laws that govern Sint Maarten,” Romeo-Marlin said in the release, speaking on behalf of the Council of Ministers.
In the meantime, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana have publicly expressed concern about the sale of the bank’s operations in their respective countries. Antigua and Barbuda appears to be in a fighting mood over the bank’s plans to sell its operations in the twin-island nation, while Guyana has expressed concern that the sale will create issues for the banking sector in that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
Scotiabank Managing Director for Caribbean East David Parks told The Daily Herald in a phone interview from Barbados last Wednesday that workers from the two Scotiabank locations in St. Maarten will be joining Republic Bank subject to regulatory approvals, following the sale. The bank is expected to change its name to Republic Bank after the sale transaction. He made clear that all banking operations will continue as per norm in the various jurisdictions, including St. Maarten.
He said also that the government of St. Maarten, the regulator of the financial sector and workers were informed of the pending sale. As of today, Monday, senior Scotia officials will follow up with a series of town hall meetings where they will answer questions of workers in the various jurisdictions.
Parks said a specific date or timeline for when the sale is expected to be closed is not available at this stage as this is dependent on the necessary approvals being given. “We don’t have a specific date at this time for the closing,” he said at the time, adding that parties are working with Republic Bank and regulators in the local jurisdictions – the regulator for St. Maarten, the Central Bank and others to obtain the necessary approvals to close the transaction. Scotiabank has partnered with leading financial services provider who is an expert in its field and who is committed to delivering enhanced financial services which will serve local customers’ needs going forward. Scotia has two branches in St. Maarten: one in Philipsburg and one in Simpson Bay.