One commercial bank is giving the six-month-old Mia Mottley-led administration the thumbs up for sticking to the “difficult decisions” that had to be made in relation to the debt restructuring.
At the same time, Managing Director for Barbados operations at RBC Royal Bank Robert de Silva is assuring Barbadians that his financial institution had no intention of exiting the Barbados market.
“These are very challenging times in Barbados and challenging problems call for difficult decisions to solve them. Banks, as you would have known, were a big part of the debt restructuring but we are optimistic,” said de Silva.
It is not clear how much government securities RBC had, but as at September 19, seven commercial banks held a total of $180,700,000 in government debt.
Under the widely-debated debt exchange offer, launched in early September and approved last month, holders of affected instruments will received all their principal over a longer period with reduced interest.
While de Silva was not prepared to discuss the matter in any great detail or offer any suggestions, he said he believed “the decisions that need to be made are being made”.
“I am not going to offer opinions on any one thing or the other. But we think that decisions are being made and you can feel a sense of cautious optimism but growing optimism. I think the population is feeling something happening,” he said.
With growing concerns about the future of commercial banks operations in Barbados, de Silva told Barbados TODAY there were no plans by RBC to pull out of Barbados.
“We have been part of Barbados for 108 years. If you think about it, we have branches in the Caribbean before we had branches in Toronto, so Barbados is an important part of our Caribbean strategy and we intend to be here for the long-term,” he assured.
In relation to the bank’s performance especially over the past year, de Silva said while the financial institution could always do with an improved economic environment, the bank was doing what it could to remain sustainable, competitive and profitable.
“There might be temporary set backs with debt restructuring and so on but this vision is a long-term vision and we are committed to helping the citizens of Barbados strive and the community prosper,” he promised.
de Silva was speaking at a special cocktail reception put on by the bank at Sandals Royal Barbados on Wednesday to introduce new members of the RBC Private Banking team.
He said the private banking operation in Barbados which has been the longest serving in the region for the group having been here some 20 years, was the largest for RBC in the Caribbean.
RBC’s head of Caribbean Banking Robert Johnston said he was satisfied that the Caribbean had a fairly deep revenue pool from a business perspective.
“But,” he said, “it is concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of business leaders and individuals and their families and we found that they are embracing the private banking value proposition.”
Ahead of introducing the new private banking officials, Robertson also acknowledged the Barbados economic situation, commending the Mottley-led administration for the actions being taken to repair and strengthen the economy.
“The hand that this Government was dealt was a challenging one and they have had courage, a game plan and a purpose and they are following it. We are confident that Barbados will be prosperous and successful in the future and we plan to play a part in that . . . We are committed to the success of this country and to the success of this Government and we will do our part. There should be no question or debate about that,” Robertson told the modest audience of local and international business officials.
He added that the bank was well positioned “to remained strong and stable” in Barbados for years to come.
The bank introduced Darryl While as the CEO of RBC Financial (Caribbean) Ltd and Regional Vice President for Corporate and Investment Banking; Roger Cole as RVP Retail; Scott Estabrooks as RVP Private Banking and Glenn Dormody as RVP Specialized Sales Force.