Demerara Bank expands to St Lucia

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 21:04 by Writer

Mr Komal Samaroo.

One of Guyana’s indigenous banks, Demerara Bank Limited, has expanded its “footprint” to St Lucia where the laws allow financial institutions to focus on investment banking, according to Chairman of the DDL Group of Companies, Komal Samaroo.

“We do have a subsidiary in St Lucia but that is for the purpose of investment and looking at opportunities in the region so it is at the very beginning stage of widening the footprint of the bank,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. The financial institution, though small, he said was holding “some investments regionally and globally” and was exploring options such as corporate lending.

He explained that the 32-year-old financial institution would be searching for investment opportunities, and had not reached the stage of planning a branch “as yet” in that sister Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member nation. “We’re establishing a presence and we’re managing some investments through that branch for the wider Caribbean but St Lucia is the focal point; it’s where everything will be based,” he said.

The Group Chairman said St Lucia’s laws “allow for this kind of operation” and so the corporate decision makers wanted to widen the base of the bank outside Guyana, “not to have it in one location but to start looking at the wider region.”

Known as DB St Lucia Incorporated, the investment subsidiary has already received regulatory approval from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the sub-regional regulator for financial institutions.. “It’s incorporated and it’s holding some investments that the bank has,” he said of the entity that was established late last year.

Mr Samaroo said that, in contrast to Guyana, St Lucia “especially created this kind of regulation that allows for investment companies to be based there.” Asked what motivated Demerara Bank to go to St Lucia, he said the Group believed that local companies should seek opportunities outside of Guyana. “We believe that Guyanese companies should not confine their thought process to Guyana but should look outside and the first step in the region to see how we can start positioning ourselves to go after opportunities in the region,” he said.

Demerara Bank was incorporated in January, 1992 and declared open in 1994.