BIBA un­easy with move

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

THE PEND­ING SALE of Sco­tia­bank in the Caribbean is caus­ing the Bar­ba­dos In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (BIBA) much angst.

The bank said on Tues­day it had struck a deal to sell bank­ing busi­nesses in nine of the smaller coun­tries in the Caribbean, such as An­tigua and Do­minica, as the lender con­tin­ues to nar­row down the num­ber of in­ter­na­tional mar­kets in which it op­er­ates.

Sco­tia­bank also an­nounced its sub­sidiaries in Ja­maica and Trinidad and Tobago had agreed to sell their in­sur­ance op­er­a­tions to Sagi­cor Fi­nan­cial Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd, and the in­sur­ance com­pany would un­der­write in­sur­ance prod­ucts for Sco­tia’s bank­ing sub­sidiaries through a 20-year distri­bu­tion agree­ment.

BIBA pres­i­dent Ju­lia Hope told a me­dia sen­si­ti­sa­tion ses­sion on the Bar­ba­dos re­sponse to the Base Ero­sion and Profit Shift­ing ini­tia­tive, held at Baobab Tow­ers, War­rens, St Michael yes­ter­day, the move pointed to a need to quickly ad­dress busi­ness fa­cil­i­ta­tion in Bar­ba­dos.

“We keep talk­ing about the ease of do­ing busi­ness in Bar­ba­dos . . . . Yes­ter­day we heard that Sco­tia­bank is with­draw­ing from the re­gion with the ex­cep­tion of Bar­ba­dos. The ease of do­ing busi­ness re­lates to ev­ery­thing from be­ing able to open and op­er­ate bank ac­counts, through to in­cor­po­rat­ing com­pa­nies, through to hav­ing lawyers, ac­coun­tants pro­vide ser­vices. It is the full gamut of ser­vices and bank­ing forms a core part of those ser­vices.

“Hear­ing that one of the sig­nif­i­cant play­ers in that mar­ket is de­ter­min­ing that the re­gion is not where they need to op­er­ate apart from Bar­ba­dos, does give us some cause for con­cern. We have sig­nif­i­cant is­sues op­er­at­ing bank ac­counts in Bar­ba­dos and this is some­thing BIBA is work­ing closely with the banks to hope­fully re­solve, but this does give us some cause for con­cern,” she told re­porters.

Mean­time, direc­tor of in­ter­na­tional busi­ness, Kevin Hunte, said the ac­qui­si­tion high­lighted the ne­ces­sity for the ser­vices of credit unions here to be ex­panded.

“There’s noth­ing that we can do to stop [Sco­tia­bank from leav­ing]. That is a busi­ness de­ci­sion that they are free to make. But if you have sit­u­a­tion like that hap­pen­ing, and I don’t think you should be wait­ing for that to hap­pen, we can have what has been spo­ken about for along time – our credit unions start­ing a bank.”

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