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International acclaim for Caribbean banks

… Jamaica's NCB and St Lucia's 1st National cop top bank awards

Friday, December 06, 2019

Two member organisations of the Caribbean Association of Banks Inc (CAB) have been recognised by internationally-renowned financial magazine, The Banker, in its bank of the year awards. The two banks are 1st National Bank of St Lucia and Jamaica's National Commercial Bank Financial Group (NCBFG).

The announcement was made on Friday last (November 29) in an award ceremony held in London, England, wherein the two banks were named the most outstanding in the Caribbean.

The Bank of the Year awards celebrates excellence in the industry worldwide. The awards are presented by The Banker magazine, which was started in 1926 as a subsidiary of the Financial Times of London, and more popularly known as the “Global Banker's Bible” for over 90 years.

In a release on Tuesday, Wendy Delmar, chief executive officer (CEO) of CAB, said that the attainment of these awards serves as testament to the capability of Caribbean firms.

“They attest to the ability and hard work of our financial services practitioners, and we join in congratulating the management, staff, and customers of these outstanding businesses. We wish them greater success going forward.

“Regionally, our financial services sector has come under heavy scrutiny by international regulators, which makes these awards all the more valuable and well-received,” she continued. “It further solidifies CAB's position that our institutions are resolute in creating and maintaining a strong, stable financial environment, which allows us to operate in the best interests of our customers, whilst enabling us to promote a healthy economy,” she shared.

St Lucia's 1st National Bank was hailed by The Banker for “stellar financial performance and its continuous efforts to grow its customer base”. Among the sterling numbers cited for 2018, net profits surged by 180 per cent, while total assets grew by 14 per cent to $283.3 million. A focus on corporate banking also saw 1st National's corporate loan portfolio growing by 42 per cent to $99.4 million.

“We continue to recognise and find creative ways to mitigate the challenges of being an indigenous bank. We are committed to greatness and transitioning from good to great, always remembering that strategy without execution will get us nowhere,” stated 1st National's CEO, Johnathan Johannes, who is also a director of the CAB board.

On the other hand Jamaica's NCBFG was hailed for its expansionist vision, having obtained a controlling stake in Trinidad and Tobago's Guardian Holdings, an insurance, pension and asset management firm with a 21-country network in the English and Dutch Caribbean. The bank was also recognised for being a technological innovator in the areas of investment, credit cards, and lending.

An elated Septimus “Bob”' Blake, NCBFG CEO, said that the key ingredients to his company's success stemmed from their continued innovation, expertise and strength.

“We listen to our customers, and innovate to meet their needs. We invest aggressively in technology and equip our team to deliver expert service,” he said.

The 2019 Banker's bank of the year awards were presented to companies in 138 countries, as well as six regional awards, and the top prize for the global bank of the year.