RBTT is on a rebranding plan. Since Canada's Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) acquired RBTT two years ago, the T&T-based bank has come a long way, said Suresh Sookoo, chief executive officer, RBTT Financial Group. "June 16 made it two years since they took over. A lot has been happening out of the sight of the public. We restructured the company, we aligned everything into T&T. We made some changes to our business model and part of the technology is to rebuild our operating model to support the business model. "We now have a rebranding plan. The first item on the agenda was to integrate that functioning in line with the expectations of the parent company. We feel we've done that and the next step would be the rebranding.
"It would mean changing the brand, changing stationery, changing the sign. We'll be going with 'RBC' as the dominant brand across the Caribbean and, as you expect, that is going to be very expensive across the jurisdictions and we are going to pulse on the basis of which jurisdiction first and the timeframe, etc. T&T would be first in line in the Caribbean in this process, Sookoo said. "We feel T&T is going to be at the head of the pack in terms of this rebranding. The game plan is to rebrand over the period of 2011 into 2012. You can't just say that you'll rebrand all islands at the same time. We don't have the capacity to do all islands on that basis.
"One other complication is that in three islands, we actually have an RBC and an RBTT presence, which are Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts/Nevis and Antigua. We have to think of how we're going to rebrand in Barbados. For example, our clients still refer to us as Royal Bank; they never changed that. "The RBC shield that is front of this building will be the dominant physical look of it. So I guess it will be 'RBC-something' RBC-Royal Banks Trinidad, or whatever. Definitely, it will be the shield and the dominant brand," Sookoo said.
It is hoped that in Jamaica Minna Israel who heads the operations will be given a degree of autonomy to stamp her own indelible mark on RBC and recruit a team that she can lead and who are answerable to her.
Back in 2007, RBC announced that it would buy RBTT for about C$2.2 billion. At that time, RBC's head of US and international banking Peter Armenio said: "This franchise creates a base for future expansion down the road not only in the Caribbean but possibly in Central America and South America." This deal will see RBC become the fourth largest bank by assets in the region. With more than US$13.7 billion in assets, the combined operations will have 130 branches across the Caribbean, employing more than 6,900 people.