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History of CIBC FirstCaribbean


CIBC FirstCaribbean's knowledge of banking has been gained through a combined experience of almost 250 years in the Caribbean through our heritage organisations, Barclays PLC and CIBC.

Both have the distinction of being the oldest banks in the Caribbean. They were a part of the development of the region since the days of salt cod and rum. Many changes have been made since then. Tourism is the new export, and West Indian businesses are now taking on the world. FirstCaribbean will be there to make that goal possible.

FirstCaribbean was formed in 2002 with the merger of CIBC West Indies Holdings and Barclays Bank PLC Caribbean operations. In December 2006, CIBC acquired Barclays stake and became the majority shareholder in FirstCaribbean.

On June 20, 2011 we proudly announced that we will be co-branded under the CIBC banner, adopting the branding CIBC FirstCaribbean. The addition of CIBC to the FirstCaribbean brand emphasizes CIBC’s long-term commitment to the Caribbean region, our employees and our clients. Our clients and our employees across the Caribbean will continue to benefit from the long-term investment that CIBC is making in the Caribbean – a history that dates back to our first branches opened in 1920.

CIBC FirstCaribbean will continue to operate as a Caribbean-managed business within the CIBC group of companies, and will continue to be traded as FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited on the stock exchanges of Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, The Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean.

CIBC's History in the Caribbean 1920 - 2002 [ ]

1920 -

The first CIBC branches in the West Indies were established in Bridgetown, Barbados and in Kingston, Jamaica. Branches were also opened in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Havana, Cuba the same year.

1957 to 1963

The first branch in Nassau, Bahamas was opened with a staff of five. The expansion of branches in Jamaica began.

1963 to 1988

The expansion of the branch network in Barbados and the EC Islands began: branches opened in St. Vincent, Antigua, and St Lucia.


CIBC sold 45% of its shares in CIBC Jamaica Limited by way of a public share issue.

1993 to 1997

A restructuring process was started to create a new regional financial organisation, which would be well placed to capitalise on the changes taking place in the business environment in the region. As a result, CIBC West Indies Holdings Limited and CIBC Caribbean Limited were incorporated.

CIBC West Indies Holdings sold 30% of its shares to the public. CIBC launched its Credit Card products in the West Indies and was the first bank to offer International Credit Cards and continues to be a leader in the card business.


A 5 year strategic "Vision 2002" meeting was held with management teams from across the West Indies. This was the first time that managers from the region had a chance to meet each other and work together.


A revolutionary Service Guarantee programme was launched throughout the region. The rollout of a new Integrated Banking System for the region began in Barbados in April and became operational throughout the West Indies.


On December 13, 1999, CIBC's Chairman John Hunkin and Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados opened the new CIBC West Indies Headquarters, CIBC Centre, at Warrens, St. Michael.

In order to centralise all operations of its corporate structure, the new facility housed the head offices of CIBC West Indies Holdings Limited, CIBC West Indies Offshore Banking Corporation, CIBC Caribbean Limited, CIBC Trust and Merchant Bank (Barbados) Limited; Trust and Corporate Services, Capital Markets Group and Mortgage, Loan & Investment Centre Limited as well as several other departments.

The Mortgage, Loan & Investment Centre offered non-cash services such as mortgages, residential, commercial, consumer & personal loans. Investment instruments such as mortgage investment accounts, fixed deposits, RRSP's and investment certificates were also available.


On July 23, 2001 Barclays and CIBC announced that they were in advanced discussions which were intended to lead to the combination of their retail, corporate and offshore banking operations in the Caribbean to create FirstCaribbean International Bank™ Implementation of the combination would be subject to required approvals from government and regulatory authorities.

On October 31, 2001 Barclays Bank PLC and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce reached agreement to combine Caribbean operations to establish FirstCaribbean International Bank™.

Barclays' History in the Caribbean 1836 – 2002 [ ]

The early decades of the nineteenth century saw the establishment of the first joint stock banking companies in England, providing greater resources and security for shareholders and customers. Against this background, and the favourable economic conditions in both England and the West Indies, a group of merchants and bankers in London decided to establish a bank to operate in the West Indies.


A Royal Charter to establish this bank, with the name The Colonial Bank, was granted on 1 June 1836, and the following May offices were opened across the Caribbean, commencing with offices in Barbados, Trinidad and British Guiana, and continuing later in 1837 with representation in St Lucia, Grenada, Antigua, Dominica, St Kitts, St Vincent, the Danish Virgins and Kingston, Jamaica.

1840 to 1950

Throughout much of the nineteenth century, the Colonial Bank operated as a virtual monopoly in the Caribbean, with the only serious competition being from the West India Bank in the 1840s. The spread of representation across the Caribbean islands provided a degree of resilience to local economic circumstances, and the Colonial Bank proved to be a commercial success.

There were few changes for the Colonial Bank over the first hundred years of its existence. The economy of the West Indies remained based on primary production, with sugar of overwhelming importance, and the Bank's business remained what it had always been - financing agriculture and trade. In most countries it was also banker to the Government.

1950 to 1980

For the Colonial Bank, now known as Barclays Bank, the pace of change became perceptible from the 1950s, when George Gilbert Money arrived to head the Caribbean region from headquarters in Barbados. At that stage, all clerical staff were white, although a few coloured clerical staff had been engaged in Jamaica and British Honduras (Belize). George Money immediately began the practice of hiring suitable people without regard to colour, a policy started by Barclays and followed two or three years later by the rest of the region's banks.

1980 to 2001

The 1980s saw banks in the Caribbean being computerised, and Barclays branches changed from the traditional mechanical and electronic accounting machines to being fully computerised. Barclays was the market leader in the provision of credit card services, and introduced the first Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), linking these in to the worldwide credit card network providing great benefit and convenience for tourists wishing to obtain cash advances.


On July 23, 2001 Barclays and CIBC announced that they were in advanced discussions which were intended to lead to the combination of their retail, corporate and offshore banking operations in the Caribbean to create FirstCaribbean International Bank™ Implementation of the combination would be subject to required approvals from government and regulatory authorities.

On October 31, 2001 Barclays Bank PLC and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce reached agreement to combine Caribbean operations to establish FirstCaribbean International Bank™ With over 150 years of representation in the Caribbean, Barclays has a long history to look back on. Its past success is demonstrated by the fact that we have remained the largest bank in all its original countries with just three exceptions, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana, where they no longer have branch representation. To accomplish this, and to continue to do so, they provided a wide range of services, some traditional, some new.

As well as continuing to serve the local population and industries, in recent years Barclays has worked with other local professionals and the regional governments to fashion the offshore finance industry of the region. To support this, we have established dedicated offshore banking centres in five Caribbean territories, Barbados, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.


On 22 December 2006, CIBC acquired Barclays stake and became the majority shareholder in FirstCaribbean.

History of FirstCaribbean 2002 – 2013 [ ]


CIBC FirstCaribbean's operating companies in Barbados and The Bahamas awarded the prestigious Bank of the Year 2013 by The Banker Magazine.



CIBC Bank and Trust wins Caribbean Private Bank of the Year 2012 accolade from Citywealth Magazine.


CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Barbados Operating Company wins prestigious Braken Award for Bank of the Year 2011 from Banker Magazine.



Cornellie Schoonhoven-Muntslag, an 83 year-old Curaçao native, who has spent her adult life championing the rights of the visually impaired gives Curaçao its first top award in CIBC FirstCaribbean’s region-wide Unsung Heroes programme.


CIBC FirstCaribbean welcomes new CEO, Rik Parkhill, former Managing Director and Global Head of CIBC’s Capital Markets Sales and Cash Equities. Parkhill replaced outgoing CEO John Orr, who returned to CIBC Toronto to take up the post of Executive Vice President Corporate Development & Strategy.


FirstCaribbean International Bank announces that it will be branded under the CIBC banner by adopting the co-branding ‘CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.


FirstCaribbean launches eCheque card companies with a convenient way to electronically pay employees and service providers.



FirstCaribbean International Bank in Cayman has won its second prestigious Bracken Bank of the Year title from acclaimed magazine, The Banker. The Banker is published by the Financial Times of London.


FirstCaribbean International Bank launches Visa Debit Card in Antigua and Anguilla.


FirstCaribbean International Bank launches Visa Debit Card in Barbados, The Bahamas, Dominica Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and St. Vincent.


FirstCaribbean International Bank introduces its Bank@School product to “Freshers” at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus.


FirstCaribbean International Bank Bahamas is awarded Best Bank in The Bahamas in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2010.


Clients of FirstCaribbean begin banking on the go following the introduction of Mobile Banking.


British Airways and FirstCaribbean partner to launch the British Airways Business Visa Credit Card providing flexible payments and rewards for purchases made.


FirstCaribbean is awarded the Project Finance Latin America Project Bond Deal of the Year, for its role as joint lead arranging bank and local placement agent in the US$265 million financing for the redevelopment of the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, The Bahamas.



Customers in Curacao swipe FirstCaribbean credit cards for the first time after the launch of Classic, Gold and Platinum cards there.

FirstCaribbean wins a Bank of the Year award for its work in The Bahamas. It is the Bank’s fourth win of this award in that country.


FirstCaribbean responds to the St. Jude’s Hospital crisis in St. Lucia and makes a contribution of EC $200,000 to kick start the rebuilding process.


A new-look Online Banking site launches with enhanced features, including an improved sign-up process, wider Bill Payment options and more user-friendly options.


FirstCaribbean wins an award for Best Bank in Barbados in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2009 by Euromoney magazine.

FirstCaribbean makes a donation of US$25,000 to the Barbados Youth Business Trust, part of a larger donation of US$100,000 to youth business across the Caribbean.


The Grace Bay branch in the Turks and Caicos Islands becomes the first FirstCaribbean location to be outfitted with geothermal energy systems. Future installations are successfully made at Shirley Street in The Bahamas and Portmore in Jamaica.


November 1 to October 20

FirstCaribbean provides more than US$150,000 in disaster relief to islands affected by the 2008 hurricane season.

The Banker Magazine notifies FirstCaribbean that it has won two Bank of the Year Country Awards for its work in The Bahamas and Barbados.

August 25

Career banker, John Orr, joins FirstCaribbean as Chief Executive Officer.

July 11

FirstCaribbean wins the “Best Bank in Barbados” award. The commendation is given by Euromoney Magazine as part of their Euromoney Awards of Excellence 2008.


FirstCaribbean makes a major step in environmentally friendly practices. It is decided that the Bank will install geothermal energy systems at future locations.

June 2

FirstCaribbean signs a four-year Memorandum of Understanding with Junior Achievement to the tune of US$204,000.

It’s the Bank’s contribution to youth of the region who have an interest in entrepreneurship.

April 18

FirstCaribbean celebrates a “Best Bank Award” win for the fifth consecutive year. This time, it’s the Bank’s Barbados operations which Global Finance Magazine recognizes for its growth, customer service and products.


FirstCaribbean’s senior leaders meet with His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales in Jamaica. Prince Charles thanks FirstCaribbean for its contribution of US$245,000 to the Caribbean Association of Youth Business Programmes—of which he is a patron.


June 5

FirstCaribbean International Bank is once again recognised as one of the Best Emerging Banks in Latin America by Global Finance Magazine for the fourth year running. FirstCaribbean has received the title of Best Bank in Barbados, and for the first time it has copped the award in Jamaica.

Global Finance's 14th annual survey of top banking performers in emerging markets, named those banks that are consistently providing high levels of service in often-tumultuous markets.

May 22

Under their second three-year accord signed on October 30, 2006, The University of the West Indies and FirstCaribbean International Bank have made a firm commitment towards facilitating the advancement of knowledge and understanding of issues affecting business, trade and financial services in the Caribbean.

To demonstrate this commitment, the University and the Bank hosted another major history-making event with the 2007 Case Analysis Competition at the Cave Hill Campus.

May 14

FirstCaribbean International Bank signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oil and Gas Origination Team of Bank of Scotland. This MOU is a strategic alliance between the two banks, aimed at developing commercial opportunities in the energy sector.

March 27

FirstCaribbean Capital Markets was awarded the "Deal of the Year Trinidad & Tobago" title for 2007. The prestigious accolade, issued by The Banker Magazine and the Financial Times Group, is the only one ever awarded to FirstCaribbean as well as marks the first time the honour has been presented to financial institutions in the Caribbean region. Capital Markets received the award for the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad & Tobago (UDECOTT) short-term financing facility completed in 2006.


December 22

CIBC purchased 599,401,230 shares of FirstCaribbean under the previously announced plans to acquire Barclays 43.7 per cent ownership in the regional financial institution. CIBC paid US$988,652,389 in cash. The purchase price paid to Barclays represents US$1.62 for each FirstCaribbean share, plus accrued but unpaid dividends.

CIBC, following its acquisition of 599.4 million shares of FirstCaribbean, made an offer to all remaining shareholders, to acquire their shareholding in the regional bank by way of an Offer Circular from CIBC Investments (Cayman) Limited, to acquire all the issued common shares at a price of US$1.62 a share, plus accrued but unpaid dividends. The offer is valid until January 30th, 2007.

December 22 - Dec. 12 - 20

FirstCaribbean received several awards in 2006:

· The Banker Magazine Bracken Awards Best Bank in Jamaica and The Bahamas

· Euromoney Magazine 2006 Awards for Excellence Best Bank in Barbados Award

· LatinFinance Banks of the Year 2006 Award

· Global Finance Magazine Best Banks 2006 Award

Jamaica Stock Exchange 2006 Best Practices Award

November 8

The FirstCaribbean 2006 Regional Unsung Hero and runners-up are announced as well as a special commendation to one individual.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Jestina Charles was selected as the 2006 "Unsung Hero" while St. Lucian Laura Collymore and Bahamian Marvin Finlayson were selected runners-up. This year, for the first time since the programme started in 2003, the judges added a fourth person to the heroes line up. Fabian Mitchell from Jamaica was selected for special commendation.

September 11

FirstCaribbean's Wealth Management Centre in Curacao offers customers their site, at, in Spanish and Portuguese.

June 29

Further to the announcement on March 13th, 2006, FirstCaribbean International Bank's majority shareholders, CIBC and Barclays Bank reached a definitive agreement for CIBC to acquire Barclays 43.7% ownership stake in FirstCaribbean.

June 23

The Euromoney Magazine Awards for Excellence has awarded FirstCaribbean International Bank the Best Bank in Barbados Award for 2006 within the Caribbean region.

May 17

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, in collaboration with FirstCaribbean International Bank is offering a scholarship to a Caricom citizen for a course of study, research or training in Disaster Management for 2006.

April 20

The editors of Global Finance Magazine named FirstCaribbean "Best Bank In Barbados" for the third time in as many years.

April 4

FirstCaribbean's corporate television commercial "Get there. Together." won a Silver ADDY at the Caribbean Advertising Federation level, where it was the highest scoring television commercial in its category.

The commercial then went on to compete at the next level, the 4th District ADDY Competition, where it was judged amongst nearly 2000 entrants, comprising the highest scoring advertising from the Caribbean and Florida state and won Silver again.

March 13

CIBC announces discussions to acquire Barclays stake In FirstCaribbean in major investment in the Caribbean.

January 18

ABN AMRO and FirstCaribbean International Bank announce that they have received approval from the Central Banks of Curaçao, the Cayman Islands and Barbados for the sale of ABN's Curaçao Branch to FirstCaribbean International Bank. With these approvals the purchase has become final and is expected to be completed on January 31st, 2006.


December 19

FirstCaribbean salutes the achievements of the 2005 Regional Unsung Hero and Runners-Up - 2005 Unsung Hero, Gloria Edwards Of Belize; Runner-Up, Cynthia Stanko Of The Cayman Islands And Runner-Up, Mavis Williams Of The Bahamas.

October 14

FirstCaribbean ranks in the World's Top 500 Banks at number 445 out of top 1000 Banks in the world, by The Banker Magazine. FirstCaribbean has the highest rating among Caribbean-based Banks.

October 10

Global Finance Magazine has awarded FirstCaribbean the "Best Emerging Market Bank" award for the second year in a row after its 12th annual survey.

November 23

ABN Amro and FirstCaribbean International Bank announce that FirstCaribbean intends to acquire ABN AMRO's international banking and asset management business in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles.

July 15

FirstCaribbean joins Eastern Caribbean Stock Exchange.

FirstCaribbean International Bank is already traded on the stock exchanges of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and is the largest publicly traded financial institution in the region with a market capitalisation of close to US$2 billion and total assets in excess of US$8 Billion.

July 4, 2005

FirstCaribbean International Bank signs an historic partnership agreement with eleven of this region's leading trade unions.

Signatories to FirstPartnership Principles Agreement are The Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union, The Bahamas Financial Services Union, The Bahamas Financial Services Management Workers Union, the Barbados Workers Union, the Christian Workers Union of Belize, the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union of Antigua, the Technical and Allied Workers Union of Grenada, the Bustamante Industrial Workers Union of Jamaica, the National Workers Union of St Lucia, Bond di Empleadonan Bankario I Aseguro (BEBA) of St Maarten, and the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers Union of St Vincent.

March 22

FirstCaribbean International Bank launches its Adopt-A-Cause programme and invites its staff to become involved in Community Relations.

March 17

FirstCaribbean International launches the CareerFirst Graduate Recruitment Scheme.

January 18

FirstCaribbean launches its Electronic Banking Internet And Telephone Banking service.

January 4

Acquisition of The Mercantile Bank completed.


November 4

FirstCaribbean intends to acquire The Mercantile Bank in Trinidad and Tobago.

September 21

FirstCaribbean joins with its heritage companies to provide $725,000 US in relief to hurricane affected countries.

September 20

FirstCaribbean International Bank is named Bank Of The Year 2004 from The Banker Magazine.

September 15

FirstCaribbean International Bank responds to the recent weather challenges:

FirstCaribbean International mobilised its resources around the Caribbean to respond to the challenges posed by weather systems around the region. The largest bank in the English-speaking Caribbean rolled out its contingency plans to provide banking services to its customers in The Bahamas, The Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Grenada, who were affected by the passage of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan within that month. Chairman, Michael Mansoor, noted, "Our Barbados Head Office has marshalled its resources and those in other islands to provide support to our colleagues in the affected countries, so they can continue to provide service to our customers."

July 14

FirstCaribbean receives "Best Emerging Market Bank" award. FirstCaribbean International Bank has been named one of the best emerging market banks for 2004 in Latin America by Global Finance Magazine.

July 8

FirstCaribbean International Bank signs Memorandum of Understanding with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA).


October 14

FirstCaribbean celebrates its first anniversary.

October 13

FirstCaribbean launches programme to honour Caribbean's Unsung Heroes.

Nurse Margaret Juan, a nurse living and working in Belize, was named FirstCaribbean's regional Unsung Hero for 2004 on November 2nd, 2004. Miss Lucy Miguel who has cared for many neglected children in St. Vincent & the Grenadines for the past 20 years and William Shagoury who contributed to 15 self-help and non-governmental organisations in the community of May Pen in Jamaica were named 2nd and 3rd winners respectively.

March 31

Another FirstCaribbean Initiative: Multi-year US$300,000 Partnership with The University of the West Indies - Memorandum of Understanding between the bank and the University of the West Indies, was signed on March 31st.

February 13

FirstCaribbean launches Bank-wide Technology Integration and Upgrade Project to provide customers with faster service and more ways to Bank.

January 6

FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited completes successful Rights Offering by which the public shareholding in the company increased to 12.5%, with CIBC and Barclays each retaining a 43.75% shareholding.


October 31

FirstCaribbean International Bank officially introduces its new brand and visual identity to the Caribbean and the world.

October 12

FirstCaribbean International Bank deal completed; Bank commences operations on October 14, 2002.

Following governmental and regulatory approvals, FirstCaribbean International Bank started operations in the Caribbean on 14 October 2002 with Barclays and CIBC as majority shareholders of FirstCaribbean, having at the time a 45% shareholding each, with the remaining shares actively traded on the various Caribbean stock exchanges.


October 31

Barclays Bank PLC and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce reach agreement to combine Caribbean operations to establish FirstCaribbean International Bank.

Barclays Bank PLC based in London, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) based in Toronto combine their retail, corporate and offshore Caribbean operations to create FirstCaribbean International Bank.

July 23

Barclays and CIBC in discussions to combine Caribbean operations to establish FirstCaribbean International Bank.