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Aug 4, 2015

Central Bank Governor Says Transition Should be Seamless

Glenford Ysaguirre

But will the transfer of FirstCaribbean’s assets affect its existing clients and what does the sale mean for the banking sector?  That’s what we asked Central Bank Governor, Glen Ysaguirre, earlier today.  He says that he has been assured by both parties that the transition will be seamless.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the staff of FirstCaribbean, sixty who have membership on the CWU.  Since Heritage Bank is only acquiring assets it is not mandated to take on FirstCaribbean’s employees.

 

Glenford Ysaguirre, Governor, Central Bank

“It’s not a sale of the bank, it is a sale of the assets and a transfer of the assets and liabilities to the Heritage Bank.  So it is not a sale of the entity itself but Heritage will acquire the assets and I guess they will negotiate based on the value of the liabilities a price at which they will settle that arrangement, that transaction.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Will there be any financial impact, if any, with regards to the transfer of these assets to Heritage Bank and the existing either client base or transactions that are being conducted through CIBC FirstCaribbean in Belize.?”

 

Glen Ysaguirre

“Financial impact on customers, what specifically?”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Yeah, either on customers or on the overall banking sector.”

 

Glen Ysaguirre

“Well it will certainly change the banking landscape, you will now have with the acquisition of that portfolio, both the deposit base and the loans, Heritage should be considered amongst one of the larger banks in Belize, as opposed to maybe the third in line.  It will be a much more robust and stronger institution.  Of course we will lose the presence of FCIB which has the international affiliation.  So it will somewhat change the landscape and the market distribution of the industry in Belize.  Hopefully, and from my understanding and discussion with both parties, it is expected that the transition will be seamless for the customers of FirstCaribbean.  I would imagine that their two IT departments would be working to make sure that when the transition is being made it will not affect services to the former customers of FCIB.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Is there any clause or anything under law, any sections, which would prohibit Heritage Bank in its acquisition of FCIB’s assets in Belize from either terminating the services of the existing staff or is there anything that says they are obligated to keep those people on?”

 

Glen Ysaguirre

“Not that I am aware of in the banking act because as I explained earlier it is not an acquisition of the entity itself where you take on the employees and all the obligations.  They are just buying the asset portfolio and assuming all the responsibility for the deposit liabilities and I don’t know if in the deal that they will also acquire the physical assets, the buildings and the structures.  I would imagine that would be a part of it.  We have received and application for the transfer because by law it is required that they do get approval from the Central Bank before any bank can dispose of any portion of its assets or if any bank can acquire any portion of another bank’s assets.  That is subject to Central Bank approval.”

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