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Aug 4, 2015

Business As Usual at FirstCaribbean Despite Looming Sale to Heritage Bank

A formal announcement confirmed on Monday that CIBC FirstCaribbean’s local assets were being acquired by Heritage Bank Limited, a move that will change the banking landscape locally. But the acquisition remains open pending approval by the Central Banks of Belize and Barbados. As FICB’s executives from Barbados met with staff from all branches to deliver the news on Monday evening, a joint release was issued on the imminent transaction that places Heritage Bank as one of the largest financial institutions in Belize. The sale of assets follows an unsuccessful year for the regional financial services company.  While its representatives are tightlipped on details of the sale, it is known that the bank is in negotiations with the Christian Workers Union concerning a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of its employees.  That CBA will be retroactive to January 2014, according to a CWU release.   Upon the acquisition of CIBC’s resources, a majority of FirstCaribbean’s present staff will be made redundant. This morning, officials from CIBC’s headquarters in Barbados, including C.E.O. Rik Parkhill, were once again meeting at the FICB’s offices on Albert Street in Belize City. According to Corporate Communications Manager, Anthony Blackman, it was business as usual today at the bank.


Anthony Blackman

Anthony Blackman, Corporate Communications Manager, CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank

“It is business as usual at the bank.  As we said yesterday, we’ve notified all of the relevant persons with respect to the sale which is pending regulatory approval.  We’ve spoken to the union as well.  We’ve informed our staff and we believe that this morning it is business as usual at the bank and that’s as much as we can say at this time.”



“Did the bank handle this situation correctly with the employees?  We’re told you just informed them somewhat as late as yesterday.”


Anthony Blackman

“Like I said, it’s as much as we’re going to be able to say at this time.  We have spoken to our employees and we are satisfied that we handled the matter as appropriately as we could given the circumstances and the complexity of the situation.  We are really not prepared to say anything more at this time.”


Isani Cayetano

“What is the timeline for the transition from CIBC to Heritage Bank?”


Anthony Blackman

“The sale is subject to regulatory approval and so there can be no specific timeline as such.  It’s all dependent upon regulatory approval.”



“You can confirm though that the bank will enter negotiations with the union for a collective bargaining agreement that will be retroactive…”


Anthony Blackman

“That has been stated as much, that has been stated already.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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