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First Citizen’s Bank has acquired Scotiabank’s banking operations in Guyana.

Scotiabank announced the sale of its operations in a press release on Wednesday whilst also stating, “The agreement is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.”

The release said, “This transaction supports Scotiabank’s strategic decision to focus on operations across its footprint where it can achieve greater scale and deliver the highest value for customers. Scotiabank’s current operations in Guyana encompass four branches and approximately 180 employees. Following closing, all employees will continue to support the business.”

Scotiabank stated in the release, “Until regulatory approvals are obtained and the transaction closes, Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana will continue as usual. First Citizens and Scotiabank will work together to facilitate a smooth transition for the business.”

However, the announcement was met with some bewilderment by Guyana’s Senior Minister with the responsibility for Finance Ashni Singh, who described the announcement as premature.

“It has just been brought to my notice that a press release was issued just a few minutes ago announcing the sale of the operations of Scotiabank Guyana to a Regional Bank, a Trinidadian Bank in particular. I wish to say that the government of Guyana considers it extremely unfortunate,” said Minister Singh, who explained that under Section 12 of Guyana’s Financial Institutions act such a sale would require the approval of the Bank of Guyana.

“We consider it premature to announce a transaction of this nature particularly given that the regulatory process to consider. The request for any such transaction is yet to be initiated much less to be concluded,” he said.

The Central Bank of Guyana had previously blocked the sale of Scotiabank to another Trinidad and Tobago Bank Republic Bank Limited in September 2019.

Should the sale go through, First Citizens would add to its international operations which currently are established in Barbados, Costa Rica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and T&T.