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Aug 10, 2015

Heritage Bank and FirstCaribbean Asset Acquisition is Private Commercial Transaction

Dean Barrow

The pending sale of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s assets to Heritage Bank Limited remained the topic of conversation within the financial sector for the better part of last week.  While CIBC’s corporate representative, in a brief interview with the local media, shared very little on the expected transaction, details of the acquisition have been discussed by all parties involved, including Central Bank Governor Glen Ysaguirre.  Undoubtedly, however, the issue for employees of FirstCaribbean has been job security.  The imminent buyout will result in the termination of a number of the existing staff, amid assurances that a majority of those workers will be taken in by Heritage Bank.  According to PM Barrow, who met with officials from both entities prior to the announcement, FirstCaribbean’s withdrawal from Belize is being handled in an orderly manner.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“They say that this is a business decision, clearly they had ceased being as profitable as they used to be and no doubt there are several reasons for that.  It’s unfortunate that they are leaving.  I’m happy that Heritage Bank is purchasing their assets and will, when both parties had come to see me, both Heritage and First Caribbean, I was assured that certainly the vast majority of the First Caribbean staff will be absorbed by Heritage.  They did not say every last single individual employee but the vast majority will be absorbed by Heritage.  Clearly, all the employees of First Caribbean will have to be paid their severance and get their full benefits.  For those who will be re-employed by Heritage it’s the start of a new chapter.  The others that are not going to be absorbed, I hope and believe that they will be able to find jobs in the banking sector, in the financial sector of the country.  So we thank FirstCaribbean for the years during which they did business here, regret that they have to go but express some degree of relief that their departure is not as disruptive as it might have been.”

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