The East Caribbean Holding Company Limited (ECFH) in response to news reports on Choice News Now on Tuesday 19th April and Thursday 21st April 2016 which made reference to the Group and its subsidiaries Bank of Saint Lucia Limited (BOSL) and Bank of St. Vincent & the Grenadines (BOSVG) wishes to set the record straight.
ECFH has published its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2015. ECFH (the Group) returned a loss of EC$5.7 million. The provisions taken against loan impairments from its non-productive loans (NPLs) within the largest subsidiary BOSL resulted in the reported Net loss. The other three subsidiaries of the Group, BOSVG BOSLIL & ECGIS all recorded profits in line with expectations.
ECFH wishes to categorically state that in no way can the losses of BOSL be attributable to the acquisition of BOSVG in 2010. In fact, the acquisition has strengthened the position of the Group, and both banks hold high levels of liquidity.
The issue of significant non-performing loans is one that plagues all banks operating in the region. In so far as banks in the OECS are concerned, the establishment of a region wide Asset Management company, would provide an additional mechanism to address the issue of the non-performing portfolios of the various banks.
A holistic approach is being taken in the rationalization of operations. In the short term there is no immediate decision to close any branch of Bank of Saint Lucia or Bank of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
ECFH further advises that in keeping with the strategy of consolidation of operations and flattening the management structure which commenced in 2015, a number of senior management positions have been made redundant. The Board wishes to thank the Group Managing Director, Mrs. Esther Brown-Weekes for her yeoman service to the Group. The position of GMD has been eliminated as the group is being consolidated. The positions of General Manager of Bank of Saint Lucia and Managing Director of Bank of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines will be replaced by a Country Manager for the banking operations in each territory. The Board took this decision in order to increase efficiency and to reduce costs at both Banks.
ECFH and BOSL will continue to provide customers with the same level of personal service and over time the changes will drive a more profitable and customer focused bank.