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The Penny Bank Launches New Name and Logo

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Monday, December 19, 2005 – “The Saint Lucia Cooperative Bank “ has officially been renamed the “First National Bank of Saint Lucia limited.” The new corporate identification and logo was unveiled by the island's Governor General Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy during an outdoor ceremony on Tuesday December 13th, on Bridge Street near the bank's headquarters in Castries.

The First National Bank is Saint Lucia's first indigenous bank established in 1938 with minimum deposits stating at one penny. In 1975 the bank was transformed to a commercial bank, providing small loans for the purchase of land, house repairs and small investments. The bank has been recognized for its sterling contribution in the 1950's when St. Lucia made a smooth transition from sugar to bananas, by providing loans to small growers.

From a capital base of EC$50,000 in 1938, made up of shares sold at EC$1 dollar, the bank's present capital stands at over two hundred million dollars. The success of the bank over the years have been attributed to the foresight of its pioneers and early directors, Sir Allan Lewis, Sir Joseph Clinton Charles, Mr. George Palmer, JBD Osborne, Clive Beaubrun, Joseph Deauvaux and John Pilgrim.

The First National Bank of Saint Lucia limited, has expanded its services continuing to provide loan financing in the key economic sectors including residential mortgage, agriculture, tourism, business and education. The bank also offers a full service in Rodney Bay and Vieux-Fort and a Bureau D'Charge at George FL Charles Airport, with a similar service earmarked to begin shortly, at the new fairy terminal at Faux a Chaux.

With the Caricom Single Market and Economy CMSE looming over the horizon acting Prime Minister Honourable Felix Finisterre who addressed the gathering on Sunday, said he believed that the bank will continue to play its part in this broader market of 6 million persons. However he reminded the bank of the inevitable non- insular competition.

“To prepare for these challenges it is essential that you have a well trained cadre of staff coupled with the equipment to deliver the services as and when required. Your niche in the business has always been one of a highly personalized nature. I hope you never sacrifice that touch in the pursuit of modernity and while you continue to strife for excellence in quality and the delivery of service, you will not neglect the clientèle on which your business has been built over the years,” he said.

The bank has recorded a pre-tax profit of 6.47 million, for the year ending 2004 and according to the bank's President Mr. Ferrel Charles “this gave new impetus to the purchase of shares of the bank showing continued confidence in its future.” He added that the bank is continuing to strategize in order to deal with the many challenges that lie ahead, referring to the new regional and extra regional arrangements. “We are on the threshold of the CSME and the bank will not be shielded by bigger players; utilizing up to date technology, we continuously strategize to fill that special niche which we continue to enjoy and improve for our shareholders and customers,”he said.

“The banking industry in the Caribbean and particularly in the OECS, has come a long way,” said Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank ECCB Sir Dwight Venner as he delivered the feature address. “That in 1938 a group of citizens of this country could dream that they could aspire to manage money, in trust for others and to make loans, required courage beyond what we presently contemplate, ” Governor Venner added.

The ECCB Governor noted that the bank have kept “a special eye” on the region's indigenous banks. “The struggles of the First National Bank of Saint Lucia limited from 1938 in the midst of social upheavals to our current challenges of regionalism and globalization are ours as well, and we commend them for their courage vision and leadership.”

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