Tue | Oct 15, 2019

Scotia continues in Belize

Published:Wednesday | August 21, 2019 | 12:13 AM

David Noel, the head of Scotia Group Jamaica, whose remit includes oversight of select countries in Scotiabank International’s regional operations, says Belize remains within the Caribbean network.

It was as close as he seemed prepared to get in addressing unconfirmed reports that Scotia Belize was being acquired by a Jamaican bank.

Asked specifically whether Scotia Belize was being sold, Noel chose not to comment directly but instead cited company policy.

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on market rumour and speculation,” he said via email. “In Belize, our focus is on serving customers and providing products and solutions to meet their needs,” he told the Financial Gleaner.

The Canadian-owned banking group has operated in Belize since December 1968.

Last Friday, in the wake of a news report of the pending sale of Scotia Belize emanating from the small country of 375,000, people – a report based on sources – the Jamaican financial sector began narrowing down the potential buyer to two financial groups. The chief executive of one of the firms considered the better fit of the two said he knew nothing of a deal but acknowledged that it would complement his operations. He then advised that any comment should be sought from Scotiabank.

Scotiabank International is in the process of selling its Caribbean operations in nine markets to Republic Financial Holdings Limited of Trinidad and Tobago, but Belize is not among them. The US$123-million deal, announced last November, includes Scotia’s operations in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Scotiabank International operates in 50 countries and has more than 25 million customers.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com