Prime Minister's Press Secretary
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.
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
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…