Crédit Agricole (Suisse) SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole Group based in Geneva, today announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire the aggregate shares of National Bank of Canada (International) Ltd., a subsidiary of National Bank of Canada located in Nassau, Bahamas that specializes in international private banking. The amount of the transaction was not made public.
*“This acquisition fits perfectly with the global strategy we have been pursuing over the last number of years to develop our private banking business,”* explained Christophe Gancel of Crédit Agricole (Suisse) SA. *“It also adds to and enhances our product and service line and enables us to meet our clients’ needs directly. The transaction strengthens our presence in the Bahamas, which is a major base for our private banking operations and a place where we have been active since 2001.”*
Eric Laflamme, Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Bank of Canada (International) Ltd., stated: *“This decision resulted from an ongoing reassessment of the Bank’s business objectives in some of its markets. We are proud to have concluded this agreement with Crédit Agricole (Suisse) SA, a firm known in Switzerland and around the world for its private banking expertise. We firmly believe that Crédit Agricole’s commitment to quality service, reflected, among other things, in its decision to maintain the current staff, will guarantee that clients continue to receive the kind of service they have been promised.”*
The transaction is expected to be finalized in January 2008, further to the June decision between the two parties and subject to obtaining the usual regulatory approvals.
Ivanhoe Sands, Managing Director of Credit Agricole Suisse (Bahamas), said Credit Agricole was looking to grow its presence in The Bahamas via acquisition. He pointed to the recent purchase as a confirmation of the confidence Credit Agricole has in this jurisdiction and its financial services industry. *”Certainly, this confirms our confidence in the future of the industry, and we feel very comfortable in the capability and the ability of the regulators — and their commitment to protecting the financial services business,”* he said. He added that the Bahamas-based operations can offer any product that is offered by the head office in Switzerland, and it is his aim to continue to build capacity here. The Bahamas, he said, is regarded as a very important centre for private banking clients who wish to diversify the location and management of assets.