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CIBC head urges investment in economy

mialisafenty, [email protected]

CIBC head urges investment in economy

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It will be another two years before Barbados and its regional neighbours fully “come out of” current economic challenges.
That’s the forecast of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank’s chief executive officer (CEO)  Rik Parkhill, who said there were signs that confidence was returning to the local economy.
Speaking after the official opening of the bank’s new $10 million flagship branch at Warrens, St Michael, he said the new facility and other plans FirstCaribbean had in store for Barbados, possibly including new branches and the consolidation of others, was a demonstration of its own confidence in Barbados.
“I am cautiously optimistic about 2014. I think it’s going to be at least a little bit better than 2013. We already see some modest signs of recovery throughout the Caribbean region, but it’s coming off a very low base so it’s not something that you pound the table that you are absolutely confident that things are going to return to normal,” he said.
“I think it’s going to take a couple of years to sort of come out of this but my hope is that each year is a little bit better than the previous one. And I think even in this economic environment the bank can do a number of things to grow and that’s what we intend to do.”
The CEO said there were “one or two other areas in Barbados where we are certainly looking at the possibility of opening up branches”.
“I think the timeframe to do that is uncertain, this was a major investment we made and it’s a very large branch so we will continue to pour money into our branch network in Barbados in terms of innovating the existing branch network.
“We may even consolidate some branches; there will be no employment lost just because in some areas we think there may be the need for a bigger facility rather than a couple of small facilities,” he explained.
Parkhill said businesses “need to invest in the economy; otherwise, it will never recover. I think that’s how we feel about Barbados right now”.