FirstCaribbean International Bank Issues Press Statement

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NEWS RELEASE/For Immediate Release

NASSAU, Bahamas, March 5, 2009 – We are disappointed at the inaccurate, irresponsible and unsubstantiated comments on the financial soundness of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) Limited.

FirstCaribbean has today released its first quarter results, which show an $11.6m improvement in profitability compared to a similar period last year, with total assets in excess of $4 billion. Additionally, our Tier 1 capital ratio is 15.8%, substantially in excess of the Central Bank’s minimum requirement of 8%. FirstCaribbean International Bank Bahamas – which is a member of the CIBC Canada Group – is a financially and operationally strong financial institution firmly committed to continuity of the Bank’s operations in The Bahamas.

The Governor of the Central Bank in her Press Release yesterday, spoke to the financial soundness of the local banking system for which we are a part. I quote below from the Governor’s statement:

“Given the overall soundness of the banking sector, the Central Bank is therefore concerned about recent unsubstantiated material that has surfaced about the health of particular institutions. In the present environment, such unfounded assertions could unnecessarily exacerbate the uncertainty being experienced by customers, to the detriment of the financial system.”

We find the misinformation irresponsible. We encourage all customers to view our excellent results, which will be published in the press tomorrow. They reinforce the stability and health of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) Limited. We are ultimately 93% owned by CIBC, a substantial Canadian banking group.

-o0o-
Media contact:
Sharon Brown, Managing Director, FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) Limited,
FirstCaribbean Financial Centre, Shirley Street, Nassau, Bahamas. Tel: (242) 302-6042
Fax: (242) 323-1087 Email: sharon.brown@firstcaribbeanbank.com

7 COMMENTS

  1. Our legislators and many Bahamians are well aware of the “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” that was tabled in the United State (US) Senate on 17th February 2007 by senators Levin, Coleman, and then senator Obama; this took place during the first session of the 110 Congress. The bill is designed “to restrict the use of offshore tax havens and abusive tax shelters to inappropriately avoid Federal Taxation, and for other purposes.” It targets $100 billion per year in tax revenue losses due to offshore tax havens and since the US has identified the Bahamas as a tax haven jurisdiction for tax avoidance, there is a legitimate threat and clear and present danger to our second largest industry.

    Specifically, the bill seeks to achieve the following among other objectives:

    1. Establish presumptions to combat offshore secrecy.
    2. Impose tougher requirements on US taxpayers using offshore secrecy jurisdictions.
    3. Authorize special measures to stop offshore tax abuses.
    4. Strengthen detection of offshore activities.
    5. Close offshore trust loopholes by taxing offshore trust income.
    6. Strengthen penalties on tax shelter promoters to a maximum of $1 million.
    7. Stop tax shelter patents for “inventions designed to minimize, avoid, defer, or otherwise affect liability for Federal, State, local, or foreign tax”.
    8. Require hedge funds and company formation agents to know their offshore clients.

    Editor, I wish to endorse the recommendations made by the Honorable Member for Fort Charlotte as articulated during his contribution to the midyear budget debate on 2nd March 2009.

    First, Mr. Sears recommended that the “Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas lobby the United States to stop the passage of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Bill by the Unites States House of Representatives and Senate and to educate the United States policy makers, media and public of the true nature of the Bahamian financial industry and the collective commitment of The Bahamas to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.”

    His second recommendation was that the Bahamas Government should “make an official protest against the practice by agents of the United States and other OECD member countries who undermine the legal process in The Bahamas by seeking to induce Bahamian financial institutions and professions to break the law. If the Government were to protest now, it would give The Bahamas a tactical advantage or the moral high ground, rather than raising them when The Bahamas is on the defensive or the object of an imminent threat.”

    “Third, the Government should promote the convening of a global forum on money laundering and terrorist financing, under the auspices of the United Nations, leading to the formation of a global treaty. The purpose of the global forum will be to ensure that offshore jurisdictions, like The Bahamas, have a voice and place around the table in the prescription and application of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism on a level playing field.

    Fourth, the Government, in partnership with the private sector, should invest in a policy research facility, at the College of The Bahamas, to conduct economic intelligence monitoring of the global economy and trends, to assess their impact on the financial services industry in The Bahamas and propose policy options to improve the competitiveness of the Bahamian jurisdiction as a centre of wealth management”.

    I wish to add that the Bahamas government must formally protest the apparent illegal tactics of US authorities. They are not to directly approach any financial institution in the Bahamas, but to utilize the relevant government authorities in pursuit of cross-jurisdictional assistance in civil and criminal matters involving US citizens.

    Governments are elected by the people to protect the interests of its people and therefore must be seen to demonstrate such a commitment and resolve. As the external threat to our second largest industry intensifies, the government must move proactively, transparently, and expeditiously to protect our dignity, national sovereignty, and general way of life.

    Yours etc.;
    ELCOTT COLEBY

  2. Well Mr/Ms. Media,

    We now have to work even harder to ensure our customers to leave their monies in FCIB after you published that foolishness. So We hope when you get your SOUND SLEEP EVERY NIGHT YOU DONT GORGET TO PUT ON YOUR DEPENDS >>> AS YOU FULL OF “@*^$***” and we would not like you to soil the sheets.

  3. Well Protection, like your name implies, this writer not only sleeps well, BUT SOUND EVERY NIGHT! When I go sleep tonight, When I wake, the sun is shining and I cannot tell you what happened after I shut my eyes. NO we live with a clear conscience.

    BP

  4. Hi WOW and Drama King,

    Why address an issue that is none of your business. How would one of you like it if your employer tells the public that they are letting WOW and Drama King go before they speak to you? How many of the persons laid off bills are you’ll going to pay? How many are you’ll going to offer them jobs? Ever since BP released that rediculous story, you might now see lots and lots of redundancies in FCIB as you now have persons pulling their money out especially in Freeport where the Bahamians can not afford any more layoffs/closures.

    BP did more, “much” more damage than good. If BP had only spoken of layoffs and not closure which was the most “damaging” part of the report customers AND STAFF would have felt safe. Hope whoever is so informative can sleep at night. Even the irresponsible talk show host who pubicly told people to move their funds from FCIB and put it in a Bahamian Bank, should be ashamed, because he stole moneys, and disgraced the law profession. He that is without sin cast the first stone.

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