04 August 2010

Caribbean Group bids for Turks & Caicos bank

By Jason Richards


A consortium of Caribbean banks headed by Dominican Milton Lawrence is vowing to save the Turks and Caicos International (TCI) Bank after the bank was forced into liquidation earlier this year.

Milton Lawrence CEO of ECIC Holdings Ltd along with Stephen Lander, of the National Bank of Dominica, says they will invest up to $30.5m in new money towards getting the collapsed institution back on its feet, which will enable the country’s 4,500 account holders to access all funds up to $50,000 instantly.

The two also vowed to overturn TCI Bank’s fortunes to become one of the most successful financial institutions in the Caribbean.

The disclosure was made at a town hall meeting in the Turks and Caicos Islands as ECIC – one of TCI Bank’s major shareholders – put forward their rescue plan.

It also involves ECIC paying off a $5.5m secured loan by the National Insurance Board, which saved TCI Bank from disaster last year, and $25m to resuscitate the bank, which held around eight per cent of the country’s total bank deposits.

Lawrence promised that all deposits would be kept whole. Customers would get back all their money up to the first $50,000 immediately with access to an additional $50,000 taking place over 12 months for chequing account holders.

All other accounts over $50,000, excluding chequing accounts up to $100,000, would be kept for a period of five years at an annual interest rate of 1.75 per cent.

The ECIC Holdings bid for the failed bank is one of three offers that have been made thus far for the bank. The Supreme Court in that island is expected to rule soon on which of the offers will be accepted.

ECIC holdings is a private consortium of 10 indigenous East Caribbean banks. They include Grenada Co-operative Bank, First National Bank St Lucia, National Bank of Dominica, ABI Bank, Caribbean Union Bank, St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank, Bank of Nevis, National Bank of Anguilla, Caribbean Commercial Bank (Anguilla) and TCI Bank. The firm’s headquarters are in Basseterre, St Kitts.

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