Managing Director of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited Ian De Souza says he is approaching 2017 with “managed enthusiasm”, as he expects Barbados to continue to experience some “rocky roads ahead” before pulling itself out of the financial rut in which it finds itself.
Addressing the third annual media mingle at his Villa Rosa, Royal Westmoreland residence last night, De Souza reported that while the financial institution continued to shatter records and exceed all of its targets, he was “a bit concerned about what is ahead” for the country.
“We [saw] last year at this particular time, when looked down through 2016, we expected a number of projects to be going, we expected the Sam Lord’s Castle project to be up and running, we expected the Hyatt to be running, we thought something would have happened with the Four Seasons and a number of other projects around the place. And based on what we were hearing and thinking, we felt that Barbados was really going to be buzzing.
“Well, we went down to the end of the year, down on Bay Street a big tree is growing on the project site now, we are not too sure what is happening up at the Sam Lord’s we think something is going to be happening there, but when you drive past Spring Garden and you look at the Four Seasons [site] you see all the awning falling down. So where I am today, I am not making any predictions. All I will say is that I will approach 2017 with managed enthusiasm… I will wait to see, I certainly am not getting into any predictions whatsoever. So that is it,” he said.
“It seems as though we have some rocky roads ahead, but you know once we work together we are going to get through. We have no choice, we are going to get to the other end of [the road] and we will get there whole,” he added.
Reporting on the bank’s performance for 2016, De Souza indicated that Barbadians continued to have a big appetite for loans and mortgages from Republic Bank, having witnessed significant increases in that portfolio.
And he attributed the stellar performance of the bank to the teamwork and dedication of staff.
“I am very, very happy to report to you, given the circumstances that we are all going through in Barbados . . . Republic Bank Barbados has continued to perform in an exceptional manner.
“We were the first bank to bring the mortgage rates down below the five per cent level . . . Barbados responded in a remarkable fashion. We had set a target of $35 million for new mortgages, this wonderful team that we have at Republic Bank, we actually did $42 million in new mortgage business, 117 mortgages. If that wasn’t good enough, we had the Christmas loans campaign . . . and the market responded. We set a target for the Christmas loans campaign, I am so happy to report December 31, Republic Bank Barbados hit 173 per cent of its Christmas loans target, blew the target away, and that is all because of the team and the team work, the management and staff that we have in this organization,” reported De Souza.
Adding that the bank continued to lead the way in customer service over the past two years, the banker said the institution had also moved its employee engagement score, based on the American global performance management consulting firm Gallup Inc., from 61 per cent at the start of 2016 to 66 per cent at the end of the year – one percentage point below the international benchmark score.
“We could not produce the kinds of results that we have been producing without the management team and staff that we have around us,” he said, while thanking the media for its support throughout the year.
“We all work with corporate targets. In terms of income target, we exceeded that by 18 per cent. We made the target look like nothing,” he said, adding that last December Republic Bank Barbados Limited was presented with the Bank of The Year award by the Financial Times of London, which, according to him was “the crowning glory” to the bank’s performance for 2016. (MM)