By Sue-Ann Wayow
SCOTIABANK has sold its banking operations in Guyana to Trinidad and Tobago’s First Citizens Bank.
News Room Guyana reported on Wednesday that Scotiabank announced it reached an agreement which was subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.
Scotiabank’s current operations in Guyana consists of four branches and approximately 180 employees.
Until regulatory approvals are obtained and the transaction closes, Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana will continue as usual with both banks expected to work together to facilitate a smooth transition for the business.
However, Senior Minister in the Office of the President in Guyana with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh said he was disappointed with Scotiabank Guyana’s decision to announce the sale of its local operations.
He described the move by the Bank as “premature and inappropriate.”
In a press release, Dr Singh said, “Considering that the Laws of Guyana require this process, 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.
“It is the intention of the Government of Guyana and indeed, it is the intention of the regulator and the supervisor of the financial sector, that is to say the Central Bank, to ensure that all applicable laws are complied with in the fullest and in particular, to ensure that appropriate processes of due diligence and other processes required under the laws of Guyana are initiated and concluded before any such transaction can be proceeded with.”
Dr Singh added that both Government and the Regulatory at the Bank of Guyana remained committed to ensuring there was a strong, vibrant, dynamic and growing financial sector.
“Particularly at this juncture at our economic history it is important the financial sector is adequately equipped to meet the needs of our evolving economy which is currently going through dramatic changes. In this regard, our primary objective remains the preservation of a strong and stable financial sector and one that is dynamic and competitive and can meet the needs of our economy,” Dr Singh said.
This is not the first time Scotiabank attempted to sell its Guyana operations. In 2019, the bank’s attempts to sell its operations in Guyana to Republic Financial Holdings Limited came to a halt when the Bank of Guyana denied its application, News Room Guyana reported.