Scotiabank, Dominica

The decision by Scotia Bank to sell its operations in nine countries, including Dominica, does not appear to have alarmed the bank’s Dominica customers as much as it did in some of the other islands, particularly Antigua.

A staff member of Scotia Bank told Dominica News Online (DNO) that customers have not been closing their accounts.

“Nothing has changed really. People are not panicking and I don’t see a reason why they should,” the staff member said.

Our newsroom also spoke to a few account holders who said that they weren’t too concerned about the latest announcement.

“I have an account there and I don’t intent to close it. I think people are making a big deal about nothing really,” the individual said.

That source also told us that his wife has an account there and saw no reason to have it closed, at least not just yet.

Meantime in Antigua and Barbuda, holders of accounts at the Bank of Nova Scotia there have been lining up to have their accounts closed.

Some customers waited for hours to do so for fear of not being able to access their funds when the closure officially takes effect.

Scotiabank entered into an agreement to sell its banking operations in 9 non-core markets in the Caribbean namely Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines to Republic Financial Holdings Limited.

The purchaser is the Trinidad and Tobago-based Republic Financial Holdings Ltd. (RFHL).

The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

These transactions are not financially material to Scotiabank.

The Antigua aspect of the sale hit a snag when Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, wrote to the Bank of Nova Scotia stopping it from from proceeding with any sale of its operations in Antigua and Barbuda until application is made to the Government and approval given.

Browne is also seeking assurances that local banks will be given priority to purchase the Scotiabank’s operations in Antigua, and that local persons’ investments and saving will be protected.

DNO understands that Browne has written to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank but has not yet received a response.