FirstCaribbean records strong 2005

FirstCaribbean International Bank has recorded another strong financial performance.

The group has reported a net income after tax at US$257.9M, up 291 per cent from 2004. These figures include a $117M one-off gain from the sale of FirstCaribbean’s shares in Republic Bank. However, excluding this benefit, the Bank’s NIAT stands at an extremely strong US$140.5M, a 59 per cent increase.

Profit before Tax was US$160M. Loans have increased by 17 per cent and stand at US$4.6bn, and deposits up 5 per cent at US$7.7bn.

FirstCaribbean’s Chief Executive Officer Charles Pink was delighted with the company’s strong performance, declaring it a tribute to the more than 3,300 employees across the region.

‘All the hard work over the past three years is paying off for both our shareholders, and for our staff, many of whom are themselves shareholders,’ Mr. Pink said. ‘This has been an excellent year for FirstCaribbean with major progress on our efforts to provide first-class customer service, and provide market-leading products and services. Additionally, there has been a great effort at controlling our costs. This has been a huge effort by everyone at FirstCaribbean, and we are aiming even higher in the next year.’

In his review, Chairman Michael Mansoor, commented: ‘Clearly, 2005 has been a year of strong financial performance, but this should not overshadow the real progress made in key areas such as customer and employee satisfaction as well as operational and geographic expansion.’

FirstCaribbean has recorded a number of successes during the year, including the launch of its Internet and telephone banking service across 15 of the 16 countries in which it operates. In the area of retail/personal banking, it has also launched its platinum credit card, and has introduced its first co-branded credit card with Simpson Motors in Barbados, with promises of more of these ventures to come for other markets. In addition, a new asset management and insurance offering has made its debut, and FirstCaribbean has completely revamped its product offered to premier banking customers.

The International Banking Team, with the launch of FirstCaribbean’s International Mortgages, has also recorded success.

FirstCaribbean has started pursuing its mergers and acquisition strategy with a recently announced intention to acquire the International Banking and Wealth Management arm of ABN AMRO in Curacao.

A new corporate banking structure allows for more targeted customer service through customer segmentation and for a renewed focus on support for small business. FirstCaribbean was also the first commercial bank to sign an historic partnership agreement with the Caribbean Hotel Association, which provides for several areas of cooperation between the two organisations.

In the past year, FirstCaribbean International Bank successfully completed an issue of US $200M of subordinated floating rate notes in the Eurobond Market. The transaction was the first subordinated debt from the English-speaking Caribbean to be sold in the public markets, and marks the first time a bank in the region has raised capital exclusively in the European market. Additionally, the ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, has once again confirmed FirstCaribbean’s A- Stable rating, which the Bank has held since its inception.