Bankers Association celebrates 40 years

The current and former CIBA presidents. From left current president Michael Halsey, Sackville Bank and Trust Company Limited; Gonzalo Jalles, HSBC Bank (Cayman) Ltd, President from 2010 to 2012; Conor O'Dea, Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited President from 2006 to 2008; Mark McIntyre, FirstCaribbean International Bank (Cayman) Limited, President from 2014 to 2016; Brian Esau, Cayman National Bank Limited, President from 2016 to 2018 and Eduardo Silva, JP Integra Group, President from 1998 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2006.

Five past presidents of the Cayman Islands Bankers Association joined current CIBA President Michael Halsey and members of the business community to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the association. The event was held at the George Town Yacht Club and featured a lively presentation by past President Eduardo Silva, who took attendees down memory lane, detailing when the association was formed and how it had promoted and supported the banking industry over the years.

To illustrate how Cayman had changed in 40 years, Mr. Silva noted that when the Bankers Association was first formed in 1979, there were just 16,677 people living in the Cayman Islands.

“There were 5,600 cars and vehicles in general, but the police reported 560 accidents and 1,200 traffic offenses. What that means, on average, 10 percent of the vehicles were involved in an accident and more than 20 percent, in a traffic offense. If you complain about the traffic today, these numbers should give you some relief,” he pointed out.

Mr. Silva said the announcement of the formation of the Bankers Association was reported in the Caymanian Compass on the front page of the May 29, 1979 edition, which said that Royan Ellis, manager of the Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company, was elected the Bankers Association’s first president.

Forty years ago, the prime objective of the association was to foster study courses for training bank staff, Mr. Silva said. Over time, those objectives have been added to and now include representing the common interests of members and furthering Cayman’s good image as a financial center, along with promoting the training of banking staff.

Mr. Silva highlighted many of the CIBA’s achievements over the years, including hosting a prestigious conference every two years, an annual dinner and honoring the significant accomplishments of financial services staff members.

He completed his presentation by saying: “CIBA is 40 years young, and the best is yet to come.”

Derek Jones, partner with HSM Chambers, was then invited to offer a traditional “roast,” rather than a “toast,” of the banking industry, with humorous stories and observations that rounded off the evening.