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Scotiabank agrees to sell Guyana operations but Trinidad First Citizens has not applied for licence- Central Bank

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 March 2021, 19:29 by Denis Chabrol

The Bank of Guyana, which regulates most local financial institutions, has frowned said Trinidad First Citizens Bank has not applied for a banking licence in Guyana although it has agreed to buy Scotiabank’s operations.

“FCB does not have a licence to operate in Guyana. FCB has not submitted an application,” the Bank of Guyana said in a statement.

The Central Bank notes that an application must be made in keeping with the requirements of the Financial
Institutions Act 1995 (FIA), to the Bank of Guyana to acquire control of a bank (in this case the Bank of Nova Scotia) operating in Guyana.

The Bank of Guyana further notes that the Bank of Nova Scotia entered into a purchase and sale agreement “t without informing” the Central Bank

FCB published a notice in the Trinidad Guardian on its decision to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) to purchase its operations in Guyana.

That notice was published in the Trinidad Guardian on its decision to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) to purchase its operations in Guyana.

The release said, “This transaction supports Scotiabank’s strategic decision to focus on operations across its footprint where it can achieve greater scale and deliver the highest value for customers. Scotiabank’s current operations in Guyana encompass four branches and approximately 180 employees. Following closing, all employees will continue to support the business.”

Scotiabank stated in the release, “Until regulatory approvals are obtained and the transaction closes, Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana will continue as usual. First Citizens and Scotiabank will work together to facilitate a smooth transition for the business.”

But Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has since frowned on the transaction, saying that Guyana’s regulatory process has been blindsided and ignored. “We consider it premature to announce a transaction of this nature particularly given that the regulatory process to consider. The request for any such transaction is yet to be initiated much less to be concluded,” he said.

The Central Bank of Guyana had previously blocked the sale of Scotiabank to another Trinidad and Tobago Bank Republic Bank Limited in September 2019.

Should the sale go through, First Citizens would add to its international operations which currently are established in Barbados, Costa Rica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.