Top officials of Saint Lucia’s 1st National Bank (St. Lucia) Limited returned home very upbeat earlier this week, after making history in neighbouring Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, where it’s become the first indigenous bank in the OECS to open a branch on another island in the sub-region.
The local bank’s top brass, led by President Nigel Fulgence and Managing Director Fletcher St. Jean, earlier this week returned from visiting branch operations in Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, which marked the completion of the conversion of the local bank’s acquisition of the assets of RBTT bank in Kingstown.
The team, which also included Senior Corporate Manager Solomon Emmanuel and Head of Retail Sales, Annicia Alexander, visited the neighboring multi-island state to pave the way for 1st National Bank (Saint Lucia) Ltd. to complete the transition after the Saint Lucia bank completed purchase in July 2022.
The President, Managing Director and Country Manager for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ms. Vonetta Rodgers, also visited and held fruitful meetings with Saint Vincent & The Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of Finance Camilo Gonsalves and Budget Director, Ken Morris.
The Saint Lucia team also held discussions with Vincentian staff and reassured them of the bank’s continuing presence in the local banking community, while also responding to engaging questions from the staff who’ll run the new branch.
To conclude their visit, the team had a round table open discussions with top business leaders, who were also assured of the bank’s long-term strategic intent for the local market, with all its international connections.
According to Fulgence, “The visit and meetings were very beneficial, during which our commitment to our Saint Vincent and the Grenadines market was reassured and reconfirmed.”
He added, “Our team also outlined our long-term strategy for our Saint Vincent operations and we’ve returned home certain that our long-term plans have been well-planted for a fruitful future…”
1st National Managing Director Fletcher St Jean was equally ecstatic about the visit, saying: “We have continued to score more firsts by becoming the first indigenous OECS bank to open a branch in another OECS member-state, after having become the first local bank in Saint Lucia to acquire the assets of two other banks, one international and one regional…”
Pointing to 1st National Bank (Saint Lucia) Limited’s acquisition of the local assets of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and RBTT Bank over the past two years the Managing Director said “The emphasis is now on harmonzing our operations between Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadine, to ensure we bring to our neighbors the same top-quality services we have been bringing Saint Lucians for over eight decades.”
He added, “We at 1st National Bank (Saint Lucia) Limited are fortunate to have the level of visionary corporate leadership that’s allowed us to go where others haven’t and to score the achievements we’ve accomplished, especially since COVID and despite the Ukraine War…”
President Fulgence told THE VOICE: “We have come a long way, as the first penny-bank that’s bought two dollar-banks at home and the first penny-bank to establish a branch in another OECS island.
“We have all reason to be proud to have survived and we continue to expand, while big international banks have fallen in Switzerland and Silicon Valley…
“But our best pride is in yet again achieving the best results for our shareholders and sharing the local excellence of our services with our new customers in Saint Vincent & The Grenadines.”
He concluded, “We at 1st National Bank (Saint Lucia) Limited have been in the banking business from the days of penny banking to the age of online banking and just as we’re proud of our achievements after 85 years as Saint Lucia’s first indigenous bank, we can assure customers and shareholders they can continue to bank on First National Bank.”