THE calendar year 2020 has had more than its fair share of challenges, not least a pandemic that has had a massive adverse knock-on effect on the global economy. Against that backdrop, Caribbean financial institutions have been soldiering on, and even excelling to the extent that they have been able to enjoy global recognition.
Two of the member organisations of the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) Inc. have been named among the most outstanding banks in the Americas for the past 12 months. This came as the Bank Of The Year awards were presented by the internationally-renowned Banker Magazine, the ‘Global Banker’s Bible’ for over 90 years.
Announced on December 2, 2020, the banks in question are 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited and, from the Cayman Islands, Cayman National Bank Limited. Both banks will receive the Bracken trophy, 1st National for the second year in a row, and Cayman National for the second time in the past three years.
1st National was lauded for its leadership in moving to purchase Royal Bank of Canada operations in the eastern Caribbean, for the availability of its ATM and digital banking services, and for measures aimed at helping customers deal with the pandemic, including a suspension of loan repayments, automatic removal of late-repayment fees on loans and credit cards, and increased credit card limits and overdraft limits. The bank’s increased embrace of and investment in technology was also noted.
“This 2020 award is a testament to the vision of our leadership team, board, and management, and the innovation, expertise, and commitment of our dedicated employees, who remain our greatest asset,” said 1st National CEO Mr. Johnathan Johannes, who is also a CAB director. “We thank the board of the Banker Magazine for this honour, and their recognition that a bank is measured not merely by size or geography, but rather by its adherence to and execution of good policies and international best practices necessary in driving performance across multiple facets of our business.”
Cayman National, meanwhile, was cited for reorganising its leadership team, adding new technology to its credit cards, and for its actions to offset the effects of the coronavirus, including a loan repayment suspension, participation in the creation of a standby credit line for the government, and sponsorship of initiatives to support local businesses, and to provide meals to vulnerable people. Cayman National also donated to the Literacy is for Everyone organisation to provide laptops and internet access to students.
Ms. Janet Hislop, president of Cayman National, said: “In a year unlike any other that we have experienced, our management and staff worked hard and came together in a most inspiring way to overcome the challenges of the global pandemic, and to ensure that we continue to support our clients through this difficult time. Being recognised with this award is testament to the resilience of our team at CNB. I am extremely proud to lead and be part of a team that innovates and embraces excellence in customer service.”
The Bank of the Year Awards celebrates excellence in the industry worldwide. A panel of editors including regional and sector specialists assesses over 1,000 applications from 120 countries before deciding which banks are worthy of the highest honor in global banking, based on their improvements in the preceding year. The 2020 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.
About the CAB:
Established in 1974, the CAB is a community of banks and other financial institutions in the Caribbean Region, which proactively influences issues impacting the financial services sector through advocacy, education and networking. The CAB represents fifty-six (56) banks and financial institutions in the Caribbean with an asset base in excess of US$41 billion as at Dec 31, 2019, in addition to sixteen (16) Service members comprising regional and international technological and professional institutions and three (3) Honorary Members, and six (6) Associate Members, spanning 20 territories.