At the recent Annual General Meeting of Bahamian shareholders of CIBC Bahamas Limited, President Michael Mansoor, President & CEO of CIBC West Indies Holdings took the opportunity to comment on the proposed combination of the Caribbean operations of Barclays Bank with CIBC. He stated that the Board of CIBC Bahamas Limited believes it is in the interest of its shareholders and will provide benefits and opportunities for customers, staff and the relevant businesses — above those that might be achieved by either operation on a stand alone basis. He confirmed that the process of applying to the relevant regulatory or government bodies for approval of the new entity, FirstCaribbean International Bank, is well underway.

*”The new bank name reflects our commitment to this investment in The Bahamas and the region as a whole. It is intended that FirstCaribbean International Bank will deliver the global reach of its founding institutions, with a focus on the needs of the people and businesses throughout the region”*, said Mr. Mansoor. Commenting on various 2001 events which impacted the global, regional and local economies, the CEO also said that the only credible response is to build a financially robust institution that can serve customers with excellence and provide them with the best possible solutions in these difficult times.

Terry Hilts, Vice President of Branch Banking and Corporate Affairs of CIBC Bahamas, said the bank is looking at the integration as an opportunity for growth, not contraction. Mr. Mansoor confirmed the growth strategy, indicating that once approved the merger will see the introduction of new products and services. Combining the two banks’ retail and corporate banking networks will lead to additional product opportunities and cost synergies, enabling a significant increase in capital base, assets and the ability to meet customer needs efficiently. Indications were that the training and development budget would be increased by 25% during the first year of operation.

It is anticipated that CIBC Bahamas Limited will be renamed FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas), and include the Barclays operations in The Bahamas as well as the Turks & Caicos Islands.

At the AGM it was announced that for the fiscal year recently ended, CIBC Bahamas Limited’s net income increased by 16% from B$31.6 million to B$36.7million. Total assets increased by 5%, with earnings per share also showing strong growth. Board of Directors Chairman J.W.P. Krukowski said that during the past 5 years the bank has been readying itself to meet the changing needs of its customers, advancements in technology and the dynamics of the financial services industry.