St. Lucia, Grenada Banks To Co-operate

Image: Dr. Gardner (second from right) and Andy Delmar (right), Managing Director of 1st National at the signing.
Image: Dr. Gardner (second from right) and Andy Delmar (right), Managing Director of 1st National at the signing.
Dr. Gardner (second from right) and Andy Delmar (right), Managing Director of 1st National at the signing.

1ST NATIONAL Bank St. Lucia Limited and Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited, Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, to govern a functional co-operation relationship between the two indigenous licensed commercial banks.

The agreement was announced at a press conference held at the Gordon V. Steele Conference Room at the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited, by the chairpersons of both banks.

Mr. Derick Steele, chairman of the Board of Co-op Bank, remarked: “We often described ourselves as likeminded banks, but this is not just a catch phrase. After Grenada Co-operative Bank was established in 1932, one of our founding fathers and the first General Manager, Sam Brathwaite, travelled to Saint Lucia to assist in the establishment of the St. Lucia Co-operative Bank in 1937, which rebranded in 2004 as 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited. Our ties and connections run deep”.

He added, “This is a journey and an aspiration that commenced long before the birth of the OECS as an organized body of countries. Ours is a vision that moves quickly in the midst of regulatory changes, such as the Banking Act of 2015, to ensure that customers are well served and that shareholder returns remain consistent.”

Mr. Steele’s sentiments were echoed by Dr. Charmaine Gardner, Chairperson and President of 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited. She mentioned that “this collaboration seeks to emerge and ensure a stronger and more resilient entity. She informed the media that on December 23, 2013, both banks signed a Letter of Intent committing to pursue a path of collaboration towards enhanced growth, improved efficiency and profitability. After two years of in-depth study and analysis, that intent matured into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was signed last December 28.

“This MOU governs our processes of functional cooperation which we have dubbed our ‘Journey to Operational Efficiency’.

Under the MOU the banks will undertake several projects and initiatives; share technology and platforms designed to boost growth, share costs, drive profitability and improve efficiency.

The key projects include: Improvements to the branches business model: to increase revenues and reduce costs by the improvement of the branches business model; the design and implementation a new credit operating model: to improve capabilities to promote the business and client services and the Promotion of IT Capabilities to strengthen processes and technologies by conducting continuous improvement programmes.

Dr. Gardner spoke of the keen interest from neighbouring banks which was tangibly demonstrated by their presence at the press conference. She emphasized that Co-op Bank and 1st National have commenced a journey to operational efficiency. The road map was designed to build stronger, more profitable banks “through growing our base of valuable, satisfied and loyal customers”.

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