T&T’s FCB won a country award at The Banker’s 2009 ceremony (link).
First Citizens Bank
Last year, Trinidad and Tobago was significantly affected by the meltdown of the largest conglomerate in the Caribbean, the CL Financial Group. This affected the whole of the local financial system and economy, and had a knock-on effect on First Citizens Bank’s loan book. Further, the government-owned bank had to assist with the restructuring of loan facilities, raising new capital and allocating management time to addressing the various issues arising from the crisis.
First Citizens Bank’s solutions not only helped the local economy, they also provided growth for the bank itself. The acquisition of some troubled institutions were turned to the bank’s advantage and confirmed its counterparty credit rating (BBB+/A2) by Standard & Poor’s, the highest among local banks.
“First Citizens, as a bank owned by the government, was called upon to assist with the management of the crisis,” says chief executive Larry Howai. “The end result has been the maintenance of stability within the local financial system. In addition, the bank was able to acquire a solid base of new customers from the [troubled] CL Financial Group and also acquired [Caribbean Money Market Brokers], one of the premier brokerage houses in the Caribbean. This has resulted in increased profitability, a 70% increase in the bank’s asset base and a presence in several Caribbean islands.”
Last year’s results have encouraged the bank to aim even higher for the future and to look at acquisition targets in the region.
“Our main focus in the coming year will be on risk management, close monitoring and management of our loan and investment portfolios and strategic expansion in key markets,” says Mr Howai. “This latter will include potential acquisition opportunities both locally and in the Caribbean region.”