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Creation and subsequent merger of NCB and SLDB opened up A New Era in Local Banking

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - Launched in 1980 and opened on the first working day of 1981 with a total asset base of $3.1 Million, the establishment of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) heralded a new era in banking in St. Lucia.

The NCB’s first Managing Director of the NCB was Mr Mc Donald Dixon, who is now a senior trade consultant with the Ministry of Commerce, Investment and Consumer Affairs. He presided over the first wave of the bank’s history, which has changed substantially over the past ten years.

In its first 25 years, the NCB has grown from strength to strength. In a quarter of a century, it has been regarded as one of the most successful banking institutions in the history of the Eastern Caribbean.

The fortunes of the NCB began to change with the arrival of a new government and a new Finance Minister in 1997.

Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony authorized a study of the options and possibilities of making the two institutions operate more efficiently and profitably.

Realizing the need for adjustment to meet the challenges of the day’s market trends and demands, the NCB was privatized in 1999. This strategic move resulted in creation of the Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) and increasing the new entity’s capital base and its ability to lend more.

Next, the BOSL and the St. Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) – which was also established by the then Labour administration back in 1982 -- were merged in 2001 to create the ECFH Group.

According to the Group’s 2005 Financial Report: “The new group became a one-stop banking and financial shop, with the capacity to bundle products and services offering unique financial solutions to customers, complemented by a strong brand presence in the domestic market.”

The two banks had combined “to provide a broader range of banking, financial and related services, at a lower cost and with a higher level of efficiency than was previously provided when the NCB and the SLDB operated separately.”

Today, the ECFH and BOSL Directors say the decision to create the new Group paid off handsomely. It currently enjoys a 40% share of the local banking market and dominates in several areas of financial and banking services.

In addition, the group offers services regionally and internationally and has carved for itself a niche in the regional banking system.

And the new era continues…


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