Rebranding on course
Rebranding Barbados National Bank (BNB) as Republic Bank Barbados Limited is well on its way.
Indication of this came from BNB Marketing And Corporate Communications Manager Deborah Stoute in a recent interview with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, where she noted that with D-Day set for July 1, they have been working hard to make sure it gets done.
“It’s a major process . . . you’re looking at signage, collateral materials for advertising and marketing . . . stationary . . . things like seals and stamps within the bank.
“It is an enormous process and it has begun . . . and while you might not be able to wake up on July 1 and see every building and everything saying Republic Bank Barbados Limited, we are certainly working very hard to make sure that 75 per cent of that is done,” she said.
“As you know, [this] change has been announced for July this year and from that date we will be Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited. Our customers can expect a bigger, wider network, a bigger bank.
“Republic Bank Barbados will still have the local knowledge, which is what Republic is very sensitive to,” Stoute said.
“It is not that they will come in here . . . [and do whatever]. They’ve been here for eight years. We’ve been Republic Bank for eight years. We just haven’t changed our name and I think if people are honest, they realize that that is how we have been operating – as Republic Bank Limited . . . under their operational guidelines . . . introduced [their] products from as far back as 2005, if not 2004,” she explained.
Last year BNB chairman Ronald Harford, who is also chairman of parent company Republic Bank Limited (RBL), announced that in a resolution passed at its annual general meeting back in 2011, shareholders voted to change the name of the bank.
Harford noted then that it was “heartening to receive the support of the shareholders in the passage of this resolution”.
He said “support for Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited is support for the Barbados economy and Barbadian aspirations. Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited is a Barbadian bank with a shareholding which includes the people of Barbados, the Government of Barbados, Barbadian institutions, and Republic Bank Limited, a Caribbean Bank”.
In total there are 509 people employed by BNB.
Harford also underscored the commitment of RBL to improving customer service, product offerings and providing more training and promotion opportunities for BNB employees in the RBL system across the Caribbean.
The rebranding exercise will extend to the entire network in Barbados and entail the amalgamation of the Barbados Mortgage Finance Company (BMFC), which for over 40 years has stood as a subsidiary with its own independent board.
Stoute said this amalgamation will give BMFC a larger funding base.
“The amalgamation of BMFC into BNB is a legal process. . . . [But] really and truly, you have a bank behind you.
“Before, BMFC did not access funding from the bank. It was funded by NIS, Housing Credit Fund, they had depositors and so they could maintain their low interest rates.
“Now, through this amalgamation, they have another funder . . . that funder being BNB,” she said.
“It’s also another step in the rebranding process. So while it will become a part of BNB and operate within the branch network like all the other branches do, it will be a specialist unit continuing to do business the same way it always has, with the same dedicated staff as the BMFC Mortgage Centre.
“Republic Bank recognizes the value of BMFC and the value of the name and that will not change. It will just be Republic BMFC Mortgage Centre – a long name but everybody knows it as BMFC. Nobody ever calls it Barbados Mortgage Finance Company Limited. So it remains BMFC,” Stoute said.
Republic Bank Limited purchased majority shareholding in formerly Government-owned BNB in 2003.